GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - A semi-truck crash and subsequent fire shut down a portion of I-196 in Grand Rapids for nearly six hours Tuesday night and sent black smoke billowing into the sky.
The semi-truck was traveling west on I-196 just past the on-ramp from Second Street around 6 p.m. when it started drifting to the left, according to Michigan State Police. Rather than overcorrect, the driver let it drift. The truck slammed into a median barrier and caught on fire.
"It just sounded like a large explosion. It could have been a bomb," said Solomon Townsend, who lives near the crash site. "I went over the fence and went up there and watched it first-hand. It was crazy. It was an inferno. Only a couple minutes afterward, the cab was almost entirely gone."
A column of black smoke rose from the burning truck, but the fire was under control a short time later.
The truck driver suffered minor injuries.
It is not yet known why the truck started to drift. That remains under investigation.
Westbound lanes were shut down until about 11:40 p.m. as authorities investigated and cleared the scene. Eastbound lanes were shut down for a time, but reopened around 6:50 p.m.
MSP initially said another vehicle was also involved in the crash, but later said the semi-truck was the only vehicle involved.
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