A 41-year-old truck driver died in a multiple vehicle truck accident Monday on 1-70 just west of Columbia. The first semi struck a second semi-truck, which hit a SUV, causing it to rollover and then strike a third semi. The driver who died was in the first truck and was apparently killed when he was ejected from the cab of his vehicle.

The gas tank on the first truck ruptured and that vehicle burst into flames. The crash shut down the eastbound lanes “for hours” while accident scene was investigated and the debris was cleared.

The chief of the fire department that responded to this crash noted that this while his crew has to respond to crashes on the highway “all the time,” truck accidents of this magnitude, involving three semis, one passenger vehicle and a fire are uncommon.

No cause of the accident was given by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, but these types of rear-end crashes are often caused when traffic slows, for construction, weather or another accident, and a driver is not paying sufficient attention to the slowing traffic.

While use of handheld electronic devices, like a cellphones, is prohibited for truck drivers, they are not immune to the temptation to “just check the phone.” During an investigation of crash like this, where the driver is killed and unable to answer any questions about their activity, the phone records will be obtained by attorneys representing those who suffered damage, to determine if the phone was in use at the time of the crash.

In addition, many large trucking companies have equipped their trucks with electronic recorders that track many of the systems of the truck, something like the so-called “black boxes” on aircraft. They record the speed of the vehicle, when the brakes were applied and other data that can allow a reconstruction of the truck’s behavior in the seconds before the crash.

Connectmidmissouri.com, “One killed in four-vehicle crash on I-70,” Dan Claxton, August 18, 2014