At least three people died Wednesday afternoon in a fiery crash on Interstate 30 in Clark County involving at least a dozen vehicles that stopped westbound traffic.
Troopers on the scene Wednesday expected that death toll to rise, an Arkansas State Police spokesman said.
State police as of Wednesday night had been able to confirm three deaths in the crash about 30 miles south of Hot Springs. It started with a two-vehicle wreck near Caddo Valley at mile marker 84 just before 12:30 p.m. and sprawled into a chain reaction of collisions that included at least 12 vehicles — but possibly as many as 15, state police spokesman Bill Sadler said.
All the crashes were weather-related, Sadler said, and multiple 18-wheelers were involved.
As of Wednesday evening, police had not yet accounted for everyone, even though they had searched the area and nearby hospitals for survivors, Sadler said.
“Troopers are going through every vehicle to search for any evidence of deceased that may still be trapped in the wreckage,” Sadler said.
Sadler had no word on the number of injured as of Wednesday evening.
“Right now it’s still too early to tell with any definitive authority,” he said.
Sadler said that a 30-year state police veteran working on the crash team told his supervisor that the pile-up was the worst wreck he had ever seen.
As of Wednesday evening, the westbound lanes of I-30 were all but closed, with traffic diverted off the highway, according to a state police news release around 3:30 p.m.
A Twitter post from the Arkansas Department of Transportation around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday showed workers from that agency driving ATVs along the backed-up traffic, distributing water and food to stranded drivers.