1 person has died and another is hurt after a fiery tanker truck crash in Colorado

Emergency workers survey the damage after a vehicle collided with tanker truck along Interstate 70 Thursday, May 16, 2024, near Morrison, Colo. One person is dead who was in the vehicle and the truck driver is hospitalized after the crash, which created a fireball and sent up a huge plume of black smoke along Colorado's main east-west highway. (Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via AP)/The Denver Post via AP)

By COLLEEN SLEVIN Associated Press

DENVER (AP) — One person died and another was hospitalized after a vehicle crashed into a tanker truck carrying fuel on Colorado’s main east-west highway near Denver on Thursday, sending up a fireball and a huge plume of black smoke, authorities said.

The crash happened on the westbound Interstate 70 near Morrison, 18 miles (30 kilometers) west of Denver, where the highway begins its climb into the mountains. The tanker truck, which was carrying diesel and gasoline, was parked on the shoulder when another vehicle crashed into it, Colorado State Patrol Trooper Gabriel Moltrer said. Investigators are still looking into why, he said.

A person in the vehicle died, and the truck driver was hospitalized, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Jacki Kelley said. Details on the truck driver’s injuries were not available, Moltrer said.

A photo released by the sheriff’s office showed the charred remains of a vehicle smashed into the back of the tanker truck.

The sheriff’s office originally said that up to six other vehicles besides the tanker were involved based on reports of vehicles stopped on the highway, but it was only the truck and one other vehicle, Kelley said.

The fire from the crash set off small grass fires on either side of the interstate, but they were quickly extinguished, she said.

The crash shut down a stretch of the interstate in both directions.

Some of the spilled fuel and fire traveled through a culvert under the eastbound side of the highway. So engineers had to check to make sure the roadway was still structurally sound, Moltrer said.