CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Two people were killed in a wreck involving a tractor-trailer on I-85 early Wednesday morning.
The crash happened around 4:30 a.m. on I-85 north near Sugar Creek Road at the Highway 29/49 connector. I-85 re-opened just after 3 p.m. The shoulder is expected to re-open by 6 p.m.
“This is the main route I use,” said Amanda Ramirez as she searched for an alternative to get to a job interview.
Officials said the driver lost control and slammed into part of a bridge on I-85 causing the tractor-trailer to catch fire. The bridge from North Tryon Street to I-85 south is closed due to possible damage to the bridge.
Two people were taken to Carolinas Medical Center where they later died from their injuries, according to MEDIC. Highway Patrol says the male passenger in the tractor trailer, 45-year-old Rodney Watson, of Gulfport, Mississippi, died in the hospital around 2 p.m. Wednesday.
The driver of the tractor trailer has been identified as 22-year-old Christopher Dyer, of Jonesboro, Georgia.
Crews were able to open all lanes of I-85 in the afternoon.
“It was bad, it was really bad,” said Tyreke Chiles. “We just had to get off the exit, it was just too much,” he explained.
State Troopers are still investigating the cause of this accident and why the driver lost control of the truck. The truck was operated by Swift Transportation, based in Phoenix. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Swift drivers have been cited 4,098 times for unsafe driving in the last two years. 1 in 10 Swift drivers have been in a crash since 2014, 55 of which have been fatal. This accident makes 56.