LAKEWOOD, Colo. (Fox News) – At least four people died in a fiery crash involving up to 28 vehicles, including 24 cars and four semi-trucks, on a Colorado freeway Thursday, authorities confirmed Friday.
Authorities said the coroner’s office was working on determining the identities of those who died.
The accident occurred just before 5 p.m. in the Denver suburb of Lakewood when a truck driver lost control while traveling east on Interstate 70, according to a preliminary investigation. The collision started a chain reaction and a diesel fuel spill, Lakewood police spokesman Ty Countryman earlier told the Denver Post. Officials said the driver was headed down a hill when he slammed into lower traffic. The fire was said to be so intense that it melted the roadway and metal off cars.
“This is looking to be one of the worst accidents we’ve had here in Lakewood,” he said. The cause of the crash was under investigation.
Countryman said Friday morning in a news conference that the condition of those taken to the hospital was not immediately clear. Six people were taken to the hospital with serious injuries.
Countryman also confirmed the driver of the semi-truck that started the multi-vehicle wreck was taken into custody. The suspect was named later Friday as Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, 23, KDVR reported. He is slated to appear in court on Saturday for an advisement hearing. Authorities said he was arrested “for suspicion of multiple counts of vehicular homicide.”
“We’re still trying to identify what some of the cars even are,” Countryman said.
The charges were stemming from interviews and evidence, Countryman said. Authorities said it did not appear drugs or alcohol were involved and the crash does not appear to be intentional. The suspect was injured in the crash but not seriously.
The Colorado Department of Transportation announced Friday that I-70 will remain closed in both directions at Denver West. Authorities said the highway may not open until Saturday due to the pavement conditions.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.