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Driver and dog killed in I-85 tractor-trailer fire

Posted at 6:09 AM, Mar 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-06 12:40:55-05

DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va -- A tractor-trailer driver was killed Friday morning after thevehicle caught fire in the northbound lanes along I-85.

Firefighters responded to the fire around 4:00 a.m. along I-85 near Airport Street, forcing crews to shut down lanes.

Virginia State Police said the tractor-trailer was traveling northbound in the left lane, hauling ground-up tire, when it ran off the road, hit several trees and overturned before catching fire.

The driver was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver has not been identified, pending notification of next of kin.

State Police said a dog in the tractor-trailer was also killed.

Clean-up crews stayed on scene for hours into the morning.

Leander Jones, employee at the Exxon just off the interstate, said he speaks to many of the tractor trailer drivers that come through.

"I tell the truckers all the time they have to have nerves of steel," said Jones. "I get to know a lot of them. Not very personal -- but on a name bases. I just hope it wasn’t one of our guys that come through."

Jones said Friday morning, several people came into the gas station, trying to come to terms with what they saw. Including a woman who says she wasn't far behind the tractor trailer when it went up in flames.

"She’s a regular customer. She normally comes on this day a few minutes, get a cup of coffee and go," said Jones. "This morning she had to sit and gather herself together because she was so shook by the accident."

Although he didn't witness the accident himself, Jones said he's shaken up by it too.

"My heart goes out to the trucker and his family. My sympathies," Jones said.

The crash remains under investigation.

Stay with CBS 6 for the latest on this developing story.