One person is confirmed dеad in the second multi-vehicle crash on Interstate 80 in less than a week.
Alex Dragaytsev, of Longueuil, Quebec, Canada, was arrested and charged with aggravated vehicular homicide in connection with the crash. He was taken to Albany County Detention Center in Laramie.
The wreck, which occurred about 18 miles west of Laramie, involved about 60 vehicles, according to the Wyoming Highway Patrol.
Officials said 20 to 25 people were injured in the crash.
The injured were treated at Laramie’s Ivinson Memorial Hospital. The American Red Cross also established a temporary shelter at First Christian Church in Laramie.
The interstate remained closed between Sinclair and Laramie on Monday evening. Westbound traffic from Laramie has been rerouted on US 30 to Walcott Junction.
Dense fog and light slush conditions led to the wreck, authorities say. Two commercial vehicles collided at about 8 a.m., causing one of the trucks to jackknife in both westbound lanes. A chain reaction of crashes ensued as multiple vehicles crashed into the jackknifed truck and one another.
Cleanup is being hampered by a large fire that broke out when a 22,000-gallon tanker of hazardous material crashed. One of the semis involved in the crash was transporting Butyl Cellusove, a solvent used in cleaning solutions, rust removers and disinfectants.
The flammable liquid caught fire and required foam to put it out. The fire produced heavy black smoke that irritated eyes, said Wyoming Highway Patrol Sgt. David Wagener.
The fire burned for hours, delaying cleanup and investigation, Wagener said.
The number of vehicles involved and when the interstate would reopen wasn’t clear five hours later, he said. “It’s going to take a lot of time because it’s a big mess,” Wagener said.
About 50 other people were not hurt and were taken to the Red Cross’ temporary shelter, said Ivinson spokeswoman Kayla Clark.
The highway was closed between Laramie and Cheyenne for more than a day late last week. Crashes during a snowstorm involved about 45 vehicles and sent more than 25 people to the hospital. No one was killed in the crashes, but the road wasn’t opened until Saturday.
Troopers were still investigating last week’s wrecks, Patrol Lt. Tim Romig said Monday. “It could take several weeks for us to get to where we’re almost done with the investigation,” Romig said.