ARNOLD, Mo. – Traffic is now getting by on Interstate 55 following a fatal tractor trailer accident near Richardson Road Thursday afternoon.
Three tractor-trailers were involved at the accident just south of Highway 141, and caught on fire around 1:30 p.m. A spokesperson for Missouri State Highway Patrol says two trailers were sitting northbound in traffic from another accident up 55, when a third semi came over a hill and slammed into the back of a UPS truck. The driver of the third semi died of his injuries when his cab caught fire.
Traffic was diverted to Meramec Bottom Road. The fire was put out, but re-ignited, causing authorities to shut down the southbound lanes around 3:30 p.m. Those lanes reopened around 4:30 p.m.
Earlier Thursday afternoon, a tractor-trailer fire shut down all northbound and southbound lanes of I-55 just past Butler Hill for several hours.
Some drivers were stuck on I-55 for hours.
"Tired, very hot, very frustrated," said Arnold resident Paulette Claeys.
"Pretty aggravated having to sit like this," said another driver Robert Miller.
As crews shut down Interstate 55 Thursday afternoon during rush hour, drivers found themselves trying to find alternate routes.
"They are getting pretty jam packed too because a lot of people are trying to figure out what other ways to take," said driver Ashley Smith.
"A policeman was directing traffic and a man in another car started honking at the officer and yelling and screaming at him," said Clayes.
Smith waited in traffic for an hour and half, she says that trip should have taken her about 10 minutes.
"A lot of people were trying to cut people off, I mean there's a lot of people out there who's just not caring today," said Smith.
Many of those drivers stopped by the accident scene Thursday night, saddened to see the scene where the driver lost his life.
"It's really sad, I wish he would have got out," said Smith.