LUMBERTON, N.C. (WNCN) – The N.C. Highway Patrol confirmed five people, including an infant, died following a six-vehicle collision on Interstate 95 in Robeson County Tuesday afternoon.
The entire interstate was closed between mile markers 7 and 10 between Lumberton and the South Carolina border after the crash, which happened around 12:30 p.m.
NCDOT said the southbound lanes could stay closed until midnight, while the northbound lanes could open sooner.
Officials said the crash happened when DOT workers were repainting the highway lane lines and traffic was forced to merge to one lane.
However, the driver of a tanker truck failed to stop, causing the crash, authorities said.
The driver of the tanker truck is one of those injured and charges are possible.
5 Dead, Including Baby, In I-95 Crash
Officials said the collision involved three tractor-trailers and three other vehicles. They told CBS North Carolina that five people died and four others were injured. Of those injured, three were airlifted to the hospital.
Two passenger vehicles were burned with one of them flipped upside down.
Before either side of I-95 can reopen trooper say crews have to unload all the fuel from the tanker truck. N.C. DOT crews then have to come in and inspect the road to make sure it’s safe.
WBTW-TV reported viewer Vicki Harding Sorensen posted a photo from I-95 with visible smoke coming from the area. According to Sorensen, many motorists have been stuck in the area since 12:45 p.m. and people are walking around on the interstate.
There was a hazmat situation immediately following the collision but that fire was extinguished, the Highway Patrol confirmed.
The following detour is in place:
Motorists headed northbound must take Exit 2 and turn left onto N.C. 130 North. Continue onto N.C. 130 North to U.S. 301 North/Bond Street. Follow U.S. 301 North to get back to I-95 North.
For drivers traveling south, take Exit 10 and turn right onto U.S. 301 South. Continue for nine miles and turn left onto N.C. 130 East/East Main Street to turn onto I-95 South.