Deadly chain-reaction crash shuts down southbound I-17


A fiery chain-reaction crash shut down part of Interstate 17 near downtown Phoenix Monday during the afternoon commute and the Department of Public Safety is searching for the driver who may have caused it.

By 9 p.m., the southbound lanes of I-17 at Thomas Road re-opened after being closed for about six hours.

DPS says it all started when a truck hauling gas cylinders lost part of its load in the fast lane of the busy freeway, with a motorcyclist right behind.

“When he did that, the motorcyclist had to move lanes and got behind a truck, like a pickup truck,” said DPS Officer Carrick Cook.  “That pickup truck then slowed for the cylinders, bouncing around the freeway and the motorcyclist rear-ended that pickup truck.”

The motorcyclist was then run over by a semi-truck hauling gravel, killing the motorcyclist.  The semi then lost control and crashed, caught fire and sent up a big plume of black smoke that you could see.

Several other people were injured in the crash, including the family in a Chevrolet Suburban, but they’re going to be okay.

The driver that caused the crash did not stop and DPS is hoping someone will come forward and lead them to that person.

“We wanna interview the driver.. we wanna determine if truly a crime was committed out here or if this was an equipment error.. that’s why we need to know,” said Cook.

DPS identified the motorcyclist who lost his life in the crash as 27-year-old Steven Mathew Daniels. He was from Prescott Valley.

“We owe it to their family to give them the whole picture of what happened out here today and give them some resolution,” said Cook.

DPS is looking for the flat bed semi truck that lost the cylinders.  If you have any information about this case, call (602) 223-2212 or Silent Witness at (480) WITNESS.

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