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Fiery pileup kills 4 near Denver, trucker arrested

The workers clear debris from the eastbound lanes of Interstate 70 on Friday, April 26, 2019, in Lakewood, Colorado, after a deadly pileup involving a semi-truck hauling wood on Thursday. Lakewood police spokesman John Romero is described as a chain reaction of collisions and explosions from ruptured gas tanks. “It was crash, crash, crash and explosion, explosion, explosion,” he said. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

LAKEWOOD, Colorado. – Four people died after a semi-truck hauling wood plowed into vehicles on a busy section of Interstate 70 near Denver, and causing a fire so intense that it melted the roadway and metals from cars, authorities said Friday.

The authorities had to wait until daylight to confirm that the death toll of the Thursday afternoon 28-vehicle pileup the result of the devastation caused by the fire.

Lakewood police spokesman John Romero is described as a chain reaction of collisions and explosions from ruptured gas tanks. “It was crash, crash, crash and explosion, explosion, explosion,” he said.

Six people were taken to hospitals with injuries. Their conditions were unclear Friday.

“There is just a lot of debris from this crash that took place. The carnage was substantial, incredibly,” a department spokesman, Ty Farmer, said.

The driver of the truck is suspected of the cause of the crash, Are Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos of Houston, has been arrested on suspicion of automobile homicide, police said.

Officials say the 23-year-old, who sustained minor injuries, was headed down a hill when he slammed into traffic slowed because of an earlier crash for him on the I-70. There is no indication that the crash was intended and that drugs or alcohol were a factor, but the researchers were looking for or are truck the brakes worked, the Farmer said.

I-70 is Colorado is of vital importance for the east-west highway between the mountains and the plains, and the traffic has grown worse as the state’s population has increased enormously. The crash happened just after the highway down from the mountains, where signs warn motorists to check to make sure that their brakes are cool and work after the travel on the steep slopes.

There are also slopes on hills from the sides of the highway for trucks that lose their brakes so that the drivers can exit and slow down before hitting other vehicles.

Pam Russell, a spokeswoman for the Jefferson County district attorney’s office, said Aguilera is scheduled to make his first appearance on Saturday to be informed of his rights. A court may also consider bond during that first advice hear. There was no information about whether he is represented by a lawyer.

Russell said a formal complaint has not been filed by prosecutors.

A spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board said the federal agency is monitoring of the local authorities investigating the crash, but it is not involved. Peter Knudson, said the national transportation safety board to get the teams involved in the agency sees an opportunity to issue new safety recommendations.

He said that the agency opens investigation to between 15 and 20 of an estimated 8 million traffic accidents that take place in the united states each year.

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Slevin reported from Denver.

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