CRITTENDEN COUNTY, Ark. — A traffic mess impacted drivers along Interstate 40 in Crittenden County on Tuesday morning when a truck carrying tires burst into flames.
The heavily traveled interstate a little more than 20 miles outside of West Memphis resembled a parking lot for hours. The accident was on the east bound side of the roadway, but westbound drivers were also at a standstill because of a wall of smoke.
“I’m on the road, five or six days a week,” long-time truck driver Charles Williams said. “It’s just me and my dog. It’s one of those things.
Williams and his dog Cinnabon joined hundreds of other drivers not moving. He said he has trucked around the country for the past 30 years and has seen a lot.
“Everyday is an experience,” he said.
The call for help came in minutes after 2 a.m. The tires the truck was carrying likely fueled the fire.
Eventually, Williams was moving again with hopes he would make his drop-off in time.
“I need to be in Dallas at 2:00,” he said. “I don’t know if I’m going to make it.”
One lane was opened and closed several times, affecting eastbound drivers as cleanup efforts began.
LOOK 👀 The charred remains from what was a big rig, has been loaded on the back of a heavy-duty wrecker…after the trailer caught fire Tuesday morning along I-40. Stay w/ @3onyourside pic.twitter.com/OvpBkSv6ri
— Jerrita Patterson (@JerritaP_OnTv) August 20, 2019
After more than seven hours, the charred remains from that tractor trailer were loaded onto a heavy duty wrecker and removed from the area.
Hours later, traffic once again began flowing on both sides.
Arkansas State Police told WREG the driver survived, and no charges are expected to be filed. They also said it appears the fire ignited in the trailer of the truck.