FRANKLIN, TN (WSMV) - The driver of a tractor-trailer involved in a fiery crash on Interstate 65 South at the Highway 96 interchange has died, according to Franklin Police.
Police said Yuniel Reyes Abreu, 25, who is from Florida, died from his injuries on Friday.
It is with earnest sorrow for his family & friends that the Department confirms the death of Mr. Yuniel Reyes Abreu. On Friday, October 4, Mr. Abreu succumbed to the injuries he sustained in the October 3 crash on I-65 in Franklin.— Franklin Police Dept (@FranklinTNPD) October 7, 2019
Franklin police said a tractor-trailer struck a bridge column support at a high speed around 12:20 p.m., struck another vehicle and caught fire.
The truck driver was airlifted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He was seriously burned, but was able to escape the burning truck.
News4 spoke with Claudio Vazquez who saw the plume of black smoke coming from the other side of I-65 South in Franklin.
He rolled up on the crash minutes after it happened.
"I am very scared. Every people going to the right," Vazquez said.
He was making his way home to Antioch from Columbia after a day of work.
Vazquez wanted to warn people about the crash so he took a video on his cell phone.
"It's a big accident today and I don't want to see more people injured with this accident," Vazquez said.
As a precaution, the Highway 96 overpass in addition to I-65 South was closed until TDOT engineers could inspect the bridge.
“The concern very early on was that there may have been some type of compromised to the bridge,” said Franklin Police Lt. Charles Warner. “There was some considerable damage. The bridge took a hit from the semi as it was traveling south on I-65.”
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After striking the bridge column, part of the load from the tractor-trailer struck an SUV that was in an adjacent lane. The occupants of that vehicle were taken to Williamson Medical Center with minor injuries.
Police closed the Highway 96 overpass for almost two hours until inspectors determined it was safe for vehicles to cross. At that time, police allowed traffic to exit on Highway 96 and cross the highway to return to I-65.
Police suggested exiting I-65 at McEwen Drive, Cool Springs Bouelvard or Moores Lane at the time.
Investigators are working to figure out what led to the crash.
At last check, police said the semi-driver is in critical condition. They haven't released that person's name.
This is the scene on I-65 south at Murfreesboro Rd where a fiery crash has completely closed the Interstate. Updates soon. pic.twitter.com/KdROh9IK7Y— Franklin Police Dept (@FranklinTNPD) October 3, 2019
UPDATE: Hwy 96E overpass NOW OPEN. All I-65 S traffic MUST EXIT onto 96 & re-enter the Interstate. https://t.co/ZKniSbzpAA— Franklin Police Dept (@FranklinTNPD) October 3, 2019
UPDATE: We’re hopeful that I-65 S will re-open by about 4:30 pm ... this thanks to the hard work of a lot of people.— Franklin Police Dept (@FranklinTNPD) October 3, 2019