OPELIKA, Ala. – Opelika Police Department investigators are working to determine the cause of a crash that left two commercial truck drivers critically injured on U.S. Highway 280 Friday morning.
A preliminary investigation determined that one tractor trailer has stopped at a red light in the eastbound lane of Highway 280 when another tractor trailer slammed into the back of it. Images of the crash scene show one truck belonging to Big M Transportation standing upright with a smashed-in cab while another 18-wheeler lies on its side amid heaps of tangled metal.
The drivers of both trucks were airlifted to nearby hospitals in critical condition. Police did not release their names but said the driver of one truck is 53 years old and the other driver is 60.
Passengers in two cars were also injured by debris from the crash in the road and were taken to a nearby hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
According to police, the crash occurred shortly after 8 a.m. at the intersection of U.S. Highway 280 and Grand National Parkway / Shelton Mill Road.
Friday’s crash came as the deadly crash that injured actor/comedian Tracy Morgan thrust the topic of truck safety into the national spotlight. In that incident, the driver of a Walmart truck failed to observe traffic that had stopped on the New Jersey Turnpike Saturday, June 7, prompting him to swerve. The truck plowed into a limousine van carrying Mr. Morgan, his assistants and other comics on their way from a performance they held in Delaware.
Mr. Morgan remains hospitalized with critical injuries. His friend and mentor, 62-year-old comedian James McNair of Peekskill, N.Y., died at the scene. Three others received injuries ranging from serious to critical.
Police investigating the crash said that the driver had not slept in more than 24 hours, triggering a debate about hours-of-service rules, which a Senate committee had voted to relax just two days before the crash.