Gas canisters fall from truck on Interstate 17

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1 dead, 2 hurt in fiery freeway truck crash caused by dropped gas canisters

A man was killed and two people were hospitalized when a flatbed truck dropped several canisters containing a mix of freon and other gases, creating a chain reaction crash while driving on Interstate 17 near Thomas Road. The driver of the flatbed truck failed to stop and continued driving down the highway. His identity is still unknown.

Phoenix Fire Department spokesman, Capt. Tony Mure, said the truck dropped part of the gas canisters it was carrying, causing motorists behind it to swerve to avoid a collision. One motorcyclist attempted to avoid the wreckage, darting behind a minivan carrying two adults and four children, ages 3 to 13, that had fully stopped in its own attempt to avoid the canisters. A big rig, carrying rocks, behind the motorcyclist and minivan had few options for places to move. He struck the motorcyclist in his attempt to brake. The big rig became engulfed in flames when it collided with one of the gas canisters.

Injured Motorists in Truck Accident

The motorcyclist, 27, was later pronounced dead after being taken to a nearby hospital, said Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Carrick Cook.

The adult passengers in the minivan were taken to a hospital. They suffered non-life-threatening injuries. The children and the driver of the semi-truck were not injured in the accident.

The driver of the truck fled the scene in the truck, still carrying the remainder of those cylinders, and was not there when police arrived. Investigators are hoping serial numbers associated with the gas canisters will help to track down the driver’s identity.

Truck Accident will be treated as a homicide case

Detectives are treating this incident as a homicide case as they continue collecting details that will aid their investigation.

It will most likely be difficult to establish who is liable for this accident - depending on the trucking company’s rules and regulations about securing freight as well as information that is revealed during the investigation. It will also be necessary to determine if the driver was unaware he had dropped the canisters and if this accident was caused by his failure to stop.

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