Traffic stopped for hours as law enforcement worked fatal I-40 crash

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FAYETTE COUNTY, Tenn. -- A deadly crash closed part of I-40 east for hours Thursday.

It happened near mile marker 30 around 3 p.m.

A tractor-trailer and pickup collided leaving local and state agencies to determine if heavy rain played a role.

"It was actually raining. It was wet," said Antoine Stigall, who told investigators he was feet away when it happened. "I heard a loud boom, a lot of debris and a lot of smoke."

He didn't know who hit who, but just that a tractor-trailer and blue pickup collided near the shoulder, and then he saw someone ejected from the pickup.

"My heart instantly started racing," he said.

The passenger in the truck died moments later while the driver was rushed to the hospital.

The scene was so large law enforcement shut down the interstate.

Highway Patrol, Troopers, law enforcement agencies from Fayette and Shelby County and volunteers all worked together and tried to figure out what lead up to this tragic scene

"It just looks like it's really, really bad," said Mary Beard, who was stuck in the traffic.

Through it all, hundreds of drivers were forced to sit on the interstate for more than three and a half hours.

Traffic was backed up for several miles

"I know we can't turn around and go back. We're going to have to sit here," said Beard.

No one seemed to complain though when they heard one person died in this horrific crash.

"We just praying for them," said Beard.

Investigators said the driver of the tractor-trailer was not hurt.

"I've never seen a crash like this. This one was pretty bad, because the truck literally, it felt like an explosion," said Stigall.

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