Fatal Semi-truck and Car Crash on I-17 near Flagstaff, 4 dead

September 19, 2022

FLAGSTAFF, ARIZONA – Arizona DPS is investigating a fatal crash between a semi-truck and a car that erupted into flames on Interstate 17 near Flagstaff on September 18, 2022, leaving four people dead. New information from DPS says that impairment didn’t play a part in the crash.

The driver of the semi-truck told DPS Troopers that his breaks had failed leading to the crash, according to a DPS report.  Officials say the crash happened southbound on I-17 near milepost 298 just south of State Route 179 at roughly 2:18 in the afternoon.

The semi-trailer, which was loaded with glass, failed to stop at a stop sign near the I-17 exit and collided with a passenger car traveling north on SR 179.

Both vehicles were pushed off the roadway down a nearby embankment where the semi landed on top of the car. Officials say that both vehicles were quickly engulfed in flames.  Although the driver of the semi managed to escape his vehicle uninjured, DPS said that the four occupants in the car were pronounced dead on the scene.

A DPS spokesman said that the four people who died have yet to be identified due to the intensity of the fire. Once again, officials say that impairment was not a factor in the wreck.

Deaths on Arizona roads

Data from the Arizona Department of Transportation shows that roadway fatalities have been gradually rising in Arizona over the last years:

  • 2016: 952 deaths
  • 2017: 1,000 deaths
  • 2018: 1,010 deaths
  • 2019: 982 deaths
  • 2020: 1,057 deaths

While the exact circumstances of this crash are still not known, complete loss of brakes on a semi-truck and trailer is something that should not happen. The vehicles are required to go through annual inspections by a certified mechanic, and the driver is required to perform a pre-trip inspection before starting to drive each and every day.

That pre-trip inspection includes inspecting the brakes, brake lines, and connections. And if a semi-truck did suffer a catastrophic failure, such as a sudden loss of air pressure, the brakes would automatically engage and stop the truck and trailer, not allow it roll free. Again, further investigation is needed and evidence needs to be preserved.

We extend our condolences to the family and friends of the victims of this crash. Call (602)254-6071 to talk with an Arizona personal injury attorney if you or a loved one were injured in a car accident.

Source: 12News