Police release preliminary report in fiery interstate crash

Published: Nov. 5, 2014 at 6:12 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 6, 2014 at 12:09 PM CST
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(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)

WEST MEMPHIS, AR (WMC) - Two people died in a car crash on Interstate 40 in West Memphis, Arkansas, according to Arkansas State Police.

Six cars were involved in the crash, which happened in a construction zone. At least one of them caught fire and burned for over an hour. WMC Action News 5 viewers sent in pictures showing fire and smoke billowing out of the car. Four of the vehicles involved in the crash were commercial tractor-trailers.

"We had a fire, we had people going each and everywhere," said West Memphis Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Jones. "It's sad because I know someone's not going home to their loved ones and it makes it tough."

Investigators think the weather and construction on I-40 were factors in the crash.

"This is really bad," Jones added. "It's a bad day for us here to have a tragedy like this."

West Memphis Police Department, West Memphis Fire Department, Arkansas Highway Patrol, Arkansas State Police, and Crittenden County Sheriff's Department all responded to the crash.

Investigators released new details about the victims involved in the deadly crash. A 13-year-old girl is among those people injured.

She is being treated at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital. The other four people injured were taken to Regional Medical Center.

Arkansas State Police notified the families of the two people killed in the crash before releasing a preliminary report that details how the accident happened.

According to the report, 45-year-old Iketha Winchester of Houston, Texas was killed after her tractor trailer rear-ended a pick-up truck and another tractor trailer causing a six vehicle chain reaction wreck.

The second tractor trailer hit a Ford van, killing 68-year-old Robert Billings of Nesbit, Mississippi, who was a passenger inside the vehicle.

Reports show the injured 13-year-old was also a passenger in the same van. The driver of the van was not hurt.

The report also shows most of the people injured are from the Mid-South.

The official cause of the crash was not released, but wet roads and construction are believed to be contributing factors.

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