by Max Brantley
Reports started flowing about 8 a.m. of a terrible traffic snarl on Interstate 30 near the Saline County line because of the wreck of a tractor-trailer carrying a load of pipe. Flying pipe produced mutliple crashes involving 14 vehicles, one death and at least six injuries.
Eastbound lanes were blocked initially and only one westbound lane was open.
UPDATE: The roadway reopened in both directions by 11 a.m. More from the State Police:
At approximately 8 AM today (May 28th) Arkansas State Troopers were dispatched to the 122 MM of Interstate 30 at Bryant. Initial reports from local law enforcement and motorists indicated a multi-vehicle crash involving at least 14 vehicles (including two tractor-trailer commercial carriers).
As of 11 AM both east and west lanes of traffic are open, however traffic has been periodically blocked throughout the morning.
A preliminary cause of the crash involves a westbound tractor-trailer carrier hauling 30-foot sections of pipe impacting the retaining wall between east and westbound traffic. The initial crash forced the pipe to dislodge from the trailer and cross into the eastbound lanes of traffic. One section of pipe struck a vehicle killing the driver. At the present time a total injury count is uncertain but possibly as many as six other persons in different vehicles were transported by ambulance from the scene. The injuries were the result of secondary vehicle crashes caused when drivers attempted to dodge airborne sections of pipe or pipe in the roadway.
A preliminary fatal crash summary to include the identity of the fatal victim and injured along with a narrative will be posted to the department’s web site later today once Troopers investing the crash have made notification to next of kin and completed interviews with the injured and other witnesses.