FRIENDSHIP, Ark. (AP) — Interstate 30 in southwestern Arkansas reopened Thursday, more than 24 hours after at least three people were killed during a series of crashes that happened during stormy weather, authorities said.
The last closed westbound lane of the interstate was reopened about 6 p.m. near Friendship, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southwest of Little Rock, according to the Arkansas Department of Transportation.
The Wednesday afternoon crashes began in the eastbound lanes of the interstate, according to the department.
The crashes, which started with a two-vehicle collision that led to at least two other chain-reaction crashes, were weather-related, Arkansas State Police spokesman Bill Sadler told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
A state police report identified one victim as George Thomas Adamson III, 65, of Hope. The report said Adamson swerved off the interstate to avoid the initial collision and crashed into a tree.
The crashes shut down all lanes of busy I-30, which links Little Rock to Dallas.
A fire was reported at one of the crash sites, police said, and video from the scene showed multiple large trucks burning.
Traffic was so paralyzed that state workers distributed snacks and water to stranded motorists about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Eastbound lanes of the interstate reopened late Wednesday, but the westbound lanes remained closed until Thursday afternoon leading to lengthy backups.
The deadly crashes happened two days after five people were killed and five others injured in a collision between a van and a large truck in southeastern Arkansas. In that crash on Monday, police have said the driver of the van apparently failed to yield when crossing U.S. 65.