Authorities investigating a deadly crash in Birmingham, Ala., that claimed the life of a commercial truck driver Thursday afternoon said that a tire blowout in another vehicle set off the chain of events.
The crash occurred around 3 p.m. in the southbound lanes of I-59 / I-20 West near the Arkadelphia Road exit when the driver of a Ford Explorer lost control of the vehicle and struck the tractor trailer.
The Jefferson County Coroner’s Office identified the driver of that truck as 56-year-old Charles Ward Miller of Ethelsville, Ala., in Pickens County. Mr. Miller was declared dead at the scene.
The truck Mr. Miller was driving as an International tractor trailer registered to Jeff Chisholm Trucking LLC of Mississippi. Mr. Miller had been hauling giant rolls of paper.
According to Al.com, the driver of the SUV told authorities that her Ford Explorer began to shake as she was driving southbound on I-59 and then her tire blew out. She said she could not recall what happened after that, except that something hit her and forced her to stop in the lane for exit 123 / Arkadelphia Rd.
The driver of a Ford Escort, who also crashed, told authorities that she witnessed the Ford Explorer’s tire blowout, which sent the Explorer out of control and into the tractor trailer. The collision forced the truck off the road and into the beams that support the interstate directional signs, causing them to collapse across all of the I-59 South / I-20 West lanes.
The driver of the Ford Escort also lost control of her vehicle and struck a fence, suffering minor injuries.
The southbound lanes were shut down for several hours while responders cleared scene and reopened around 9:40 p.m. Traffic was diverted from the southbound lanes onto two of the northbound lanes, which were in turn re-routed.