TONOPAH, Ariz. – Three people have died in two separate wrecks that shut down eastbound Interstate 10 west of the Valley Thursday morning.
The first wreck happened at about 1:30 a.m. near milepost 88. Aerial video from the scene showed the smoldering remains of a semi truck that was hauling a load of produce.
That truck was headed west when the driver apparently lost control and ended up in the eastbound lanes where the trailer rolled over.
According to the Department of Public Safety, a car carrying a family of five hit the side of that overturned semi.
A 44-year-old woman in the front passenger seat identified as Hussian Ziagulmirza became trapped in the car when it burst into flames. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
The 22-year-old driver and another 22-year-old back seat passenger were taken to the hosptial with non-life-threatening injuries. A 12-year-old girl suffered serious injuries and a 6-month-old baby also was taken to the hospital with unknwon injuries.
The 40-year-old semi truck driver identified as Carlos Isalias Granados escaped the fiery wreckage.
About 90 minutes later, a second wreck about three miles west of the first scene killed two people.
DPS Officer Robert Bailey said a van towing a car rear-ended a semi that was stopped in the backup from the initial crash, which was completely blocking the roadway.
Carlos Fragoso, the 41-year-old driver, and his passenger, 11-year-old Edwin Fragoso, were killed. An 18-year-old passenger in the back of the van was seriously injured.
While it is going to be a bit cooler than it has been in recent days, the heat was still a concern for those caught in the massive backup.
The highway was closed west of Tonopah between Salome Road and 411th Avenue, causing a backup of at least eight miles.
One motorist tweeted 3TV traffic reporter Gina Maravilla saying she was stopped at 3 a.m. and still had not budged by 7:30 a.m.