Update7/18 3:07pm- Montgomery Police are now comfirming to WSFA 12 News that the South bound lane of Interstate 65 is now open.
Update: 7/18: 3pm- New Picture Added.
Update: 7/18 1:55pm- The Alabama Department of Transportation reports that the North bound lane of I-65 is now open to traffic. However, they are still advising South bound commuters to detour to exit 179 (Cobbs Ford Road) or exit 173 (North Blvd) and take alternate routes.
MONTGOMERY, Ala., July 18, 2007 -- There are at least two known fatalities from a morning accident on Interstate 65 near the interchange close to the Herron Street exit.
"At this point in time we know there are two fatalities, people who have been pronounced dead inside the vehicle. At this point they have not been able to determine if there are any more (people) in the vehicle, (but) they don't believe so. Until they have the chance to fully and thoroughly check the vehicle I can't confirm any more than the two fatalities at this time," says police spokesman Lt. Keith Barnett.
The accident happened just before 11 a.m. when the 18-wheeler, actually traveling southbound on I-65, apparently met with a car that was coming northbound and appears to have actually crossed over the median and hit the 18-wheeler. This collision set off a chain reaction of things including the plume of black smoke that many people saw rising above the city.
Barnett told WSFA: "Right now (shortly after Noon) I-65 is shutdown at Herron street going southbound; northbound is shut down at 85 and they are directing all traffic northbound on I-85. The I-85 southbound traffic that would merge ordinarily onto 65 is being directed straight down Day street, for vehicles to go to Prattville, in order to get back on I-65 northbound. "
The Alabama Department of Transportation is advising commuters traveling southbound on I-65 to use Exit 179 (Cobbs Ford Road) or Exit 173 (North Blvd) and seek alternate routes.
The 18-wheeler apparently went off the road and according to witnesses on the scene there were multiple explosions. There are at least two other vehicles involved.
The HazMat team is on the scene, but no hazardous material is involved. "At this point in time from talking to the fire investigators it appears that any explosions that anyone heard were probably just the tires on the 18-wheeler exploding. The truck was not loaded with any hazardous material or any explosive devices and there was not enough fuel on the 18-wheeler to have caused an explosion," says the police spokesman.