January 12, 2023, will be remembered as a Terrible Thursday in Arizona with 3 crashes and 5 dead people on Interstate 10. This chain-reaction crash happened near Chandler, Arizona.
The first accident occurred at 3:30 am on I-10 near Riggs Road in Chandler. According to the Department of Public Safety, the tractor-trailer was on fire. The police were still removing traces of this accident from the road when a semi-truck pulling a car hauler came by. The driver of this vehicle did not notice the line of vehicles in front of them slowing down and hitting three semi-trucks. This crash occurred near the Queen Creek Road exit. Fortunately, there were no casualties in this collision. The collision caused traffic congestion. Soon, the usual morning traffic jam started, which caused even more congestion on the roads.
Debris from all semi-trailers was all over the road. Also, diesel fuel was spilled and all lanes were covered with fuel and debris. The eastbound of the freeway was closed for several hours while the accident was cleared from the road, and the westbound was open to traffic at all times.
As a result of the previous incidents, a third collision occurred three hours later, around 6:15 am. It was on the eastbound side of the I-10, south of Chandler Boulevard, before the Loop 02 Santan Freeway interchange. In congested traffic, the semi-trailer driver didn’t pay attention and crashed into passenger cars without slowing down. He started a chain-reaction crash by pushing them into another semi-truck and two more cars. The vehicles that were wedged between the semi-trucks immediately caught fire. Five people died in that fire.
The fire department was quickly on the scene. It took them half an hour to extinguish the fire. A semi-truck and two cars were destroyed in the collision.
The driver of the truck that hit the cars escaped without serious injuries. DPS is still investigating the entire case and cited destruction as a possible cause of the third accident. Unadjusted driving speed is also one of the factors that caused this chain reaction crash.
The toll of this Terrible Thursday in Arizona is 5 dead people in three collisions, in which two semi-trucks and four passenger cars participated. Because of those crashes and the fire, traffic on Interstate 10 in Chandler was partially stopped for 11 hours. Eastbound Interstate 10 was back in service around 5 p.m.