UPDATE: 2 people dead following I-94 crash, explosion

Interstate 94 semi explosion
DMV Traffic cameras show the extent of an explosion that happened after a semi crashed into a guardrail and exploded at about 11 a.m. Wednesday morning on Interstate 94 at Highway 20.

Two people died and two people suffered series injuries in a multiple vehicle crash that happened Wednesday morning on Interstate 94 at Highway 20.

Two semis and three cars were involved in the crash. Both semi-tractor trailer drivers died at the scene. The names of those who died have not been released pending notification of family members.

The interstate continues to be shut down from Highway 20 to Highway G, both the northbound and southbound lanes. Law enforcement officials are still clearing the wreckage, which could take up to four more hours, said Christopher Schmaling, of the Racine County Sheriff’s Department.

“I can’t tell you in my 24 years of being on this job, this was the worst accidents I have ever seen,” he said.

A semi was traveling southbound at 11 a.m. on Interstate 94 near 50th Road when its tires blew. The semi crashed into the barrier, which pushed it into the northbound lane. A northbound semi hit the twisted barrier and the driver made an evasive move to avoid striking more cars. The semi flung to the right, went over the right lane barrier and got hung up dangling over the east frontage road.

Explosions were heard, and thick black smoke hung in the air.

“Our first responders came to the area and rendered aid,” Schmaling said. “Those two people suffered very serious injuries.”

Rachel Ramsey was driving to Milwaukee to pick up her children when she saw the smoke and flames as she was getting on the Interstate. She didn’t witness the crash but saw the aftermath.

“As soon as we got on at Highway 20 we saw the black smoke and the fire,” she said. “We thought it was a house fire at first, but then we noticed that it was cars and the semi. When we get close enough, two police cars pulled up… and we saw a guy hovering over his friend. That’s when we realized that something had exploded.”

Ramsey learned that about four cars were on fire. A person was lying on the ground and a friend of his stayed by his body waiting for him to be taken by Flight for Life to the hospital.

“As soon as we seen the flames, we knew this was horrible,” Ramsey said.

Here are several other media accounts:

Video shows aftermath of semi explosion on I-94

Video from photojournalist John Drilling shows an injured person on the ground and officers responding after a semi-truck apparently exploded on I-94 Wednesday afternoon. DETAILS: https://on.tmj4.com/2XprjJY

Posted by TODAY'S TMJ4 on Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Here are several other media accounts:

Video shows aftermath of semi explosion on I-94

Video from photojournalist John Drilling shows an injured person on the ground and officers responding after a semi-truck apparently exploded on I-94 Wednesday afternoon. DETAILS: https://on.tmj4.com/2XprjJY

Posted by TODAY'S TMJ4 on Wednesday, June 19, 2019


More information will be forthcoming.

 

UPDATE: Northbound lanes have been repaired. All lanes of I-94 in Racine County are now open.

 

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.