weather icon Clear

2 killed when semitrailers explode on I-94 in Wisconsin

MOUNT PLEASANT, Wis. — Two semitrailers exploded into flames Wednesday on an interstate in southeastern Wisconsin, killing both drivers and setting other vehicles on fire, authorities said.

Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling said one trailer was southbound on Interstate 94 around 11 a.m. when it hit a construction barrier, overcorrected and crashed onto a median that separated northbound traffic. That caused three northbound cars to crash.

Meanwhile, another semi traveling northbound went into a ditch while trying to avoid hitting the vehicles that had just crashed, Schmaling said. Both trailers burst into flames and set other cars on fire, sending dark plumes of smoke into the sky.

Two people in the cars suffered serious injuries and a third was unharmed, the sheriff said.

The names of those involved were not immediately released, and the accident remained under investigation.

“It only takes one person to make one small error to have devastating effects like we saw today,” Schmaling said.

The accident happened near Mount Pleasant, about 24 miles south of Milwaukee.

Photos from the scene indicated the semitrailer plummeted off the edge of the interstate onto a road beneath. Near-black smoke washed across the interstate from the still-burning truck.

Authorities closed all lanes of the interstate and transportation officials estimated it would be hours before the scene could be cleared.

A Flight for Life helicopter was called to the scene but was unable to fly because of adverse weather, Tammy Chatman, a spokeswoman for the service told the Journal Sentinel. There had been scattered rain showers throughout southeastern Wisconsin most of Wednesday morning.

Chatman said Flight for Life sent one of its ground units to help instead.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
New Mexico’s ‘moon trees’ planted after Apollo 14 are lost

Five trees planted in New Mexico from seeds taken to the moon during the Apollo 14 mission and given to the state by NASA have all died or been forgotten, according to officials at the locations where the trees were planted decades ago.

Proposed rule could affect food stamp eligibility for 3 million

The Trump administration on Tuesday proposed tightening automatic eligibility requirements for the food stamp program, a change that could affect about 3.1 million people.

Remote Bristish Columbia shaken by 3 murders, 2 missing men

The separate discoveries of three bodies and a burning car with missing occupants are shaking rural northern British Columbia.

Li Peng, Chinese premier during 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, dies

Li Peng, a former hard-line Chinese premier best known for announcing martial law during the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests that ended with a bloody crackdown by troops, has died. He was 90.