Troopers ID victim in fiery fatal I-40 crash involving seven vehicles in Durham

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Westbound I-40 near Davis Drive in Durham

A fiery fatal accident involving seven vehicles, three of which caught fire, blocked part of Interstate 40 near exit 280 in Durham County for hours Monday.

The accident happened around 9:55 a.m. in the westbound lanes of I-40 between Davis Drive and Miami Blvd.



Authorities said investigators believe a vehicle was stopped in one of the four lanes because of traffic when it was rear-ended by another vehicle. The crash caused a chain reaction of several other vehicles being rear-ended. As a result, one of the drivers involved died.

On Monday afternoon, the Highway Patrol said the person killed in the wreck was Dempsey Smith, 63, of Wilson. Smith was driving a Chevrolet SUV, troopers said.

Other drivers involved in the crash were taken to Duke and UNC hospitals for treatment.

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Emergency workers on the scene.



The impact then caused three of the vehicles to burst into flames. Authorities said they believed the person who was killed was removed from their vehicle by a by-stander before it became engulfed.

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Video courtesy Chris Wooldridge



All westbound lanes were closed as investigators continue their investigation. They have since reopened.

The Highway Patrol said it's unclear yet what charges will be filed.

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