SC family of 4, including infant, 4-year-old, killed in fiery I-95 crash
LUMBERTON, N.C. (WSOC) – Five people, including an infant, were killed and four others were injured in a fiery crash that closed a portion of Interstate 95 in both directions Tuesday afternoon.
Trooper William Henning confirmed Tuesday that three adults and two children were killed in the crash.
The fiery crash involving several vehicles shut down both directions of I-95 for almost 12 hours near Exit 10 in Robeson County, just north of the South Carolina border.
Video from Channel 9’s sister station, WTVD, showed at least two tractor-trailers with mangled cabs, along with several other vehicles that appear to have been involved. One smaller vehicle was charred, and smoke was wafting overhead.
The crash happened when transportation workers were repainting the highway lane lines, and traffic was forced to merge to one lane, according to the Highway Patrol.
Troopers said their investigation revealed that a tanker truck, driven by 68-year-old Michael Bricker, failed to slow down as it approached a work zone in the southbound lanes around 1 p.m.
The tanker slammed into the back of a pickup truck that was carrying a family of four, including two young children.
That pickup truck was pushed into the back of a Ford Explorer which in turn was pushed into a Ford Escape.
Troopers said the tanker kept traveling southbound uncontrolled, hitting a Freightliner tractor-trailer, igniting the fuel that was being hauled in the tanker.
The Freightliner was then pushed into another tractor-trailer while the tanker drove off the roadway onto the right shoulder, catching fire.
Witnesses said it appeared the flames and fuel ignited the other vehicles.
The flames spread across the grass of the median and shoulders and then into nearby wooded areas.
Troopers said the four people in the pickup truck died at the scene. They were identified as Elise Spennati, 32, Cole Spennati, 25, Aila Spennati, 4 and Sianna Spennati, 1 all from Goose Creek, South Carolina.
Bricker, who was from Myrtle Beach, also died in the crash.
Troopers said the three people in the Ford Explorer were transported to the hospital at UNC Chapel Hill with serious injuries and were in stable condition.
The driver of the Ford Escape was taken to Florence Medical Center with serious injuries and was also listed in stable condition.
The drivers of the two tractor-trailers that were hit were checked out on the scene and OK.
The crash closed the highway between exits 2 and 10, forcing traffic in both directions to be detoured off the interstate.
The NC DOT said northbound lanes of I-95 were reopened just before midnight and the southbound lanes reopened about an hour later.
(WTVD ABC11 contributed to this story)