A woman was killed Friday afternoon when a tractor-trailer slammed into several vehicles, leaving a fiery wreckage on Interstate 85 in northern Charlotte, authorities said.
The crash happened just before 2 p.m. on southbound I-85 near Statesville Road. The N.C. Highway Patrol said traffic in the area had slowed nearly to a stop, but the driver of tractor-trailer traveling south failed to reduce speed. The tractor-trailer struck the SUV in front of it, causing a chain-reaction wreck that also involved three other vehicles, authorities said.
The collision caused the tractor-trailer and the SUV to catch fire, creating a massive blaze that sent black smoke billowing from the vehicles.
The driver of the first SUV struck by the tractor-trailer was killed. Authorities have not yet released the N.C. womans identity, saying they were working to notify her family.
Paramedics said they took six other people involved in the wreck to area hospitals. Their injuries were described as non-life threatening.
Charlotte firefighters worked to put out the blaze, and the interstate was shut down at Exit 39.
The N.C. Department of Transportation reported that the wreck caused a massive back-up on the interstate. Around 4 p.m., the DOT said traffic had begun moving again but advised drivers to avoid the area.
The truck was owned by Performance Food Group, reports Observer news partner WCNC-TV. In a statement, the company said that the two-person crew on the truck had made its last delivery in Asheboro and was on its way back to Rock Hill, S.C.
The Highway Patrol said charges are pending against the tractor-trailer driver.