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SB 15 freeway in Barstow closed after wrong-way driver caused a semi to crash and catch fire

BARSTOW, Calif. (VVNG.com) — The southbound 15 freeway in Barstow is closed after a wrong-way driver caused a semi to crash and catch fire on Thursday.

It happened at about 6:00 p.m., on August 31, 2023, on the southbound I-15 near L Street.

According to the California Highway Patrol incident logs, a dark Mazda CX5 was traveling northbound in the southbound lanes and collided into the semi. The semi-driver served to avoid crashing with the vehicle and collided with the guardrail, per the logs.

southbound 15 freeway closed in barstow
(Photo credit Lovely Aguilar)

After the impact, the cab of the semi caught fire and within minutes it was fully engulfed. The driver and passenger were able to exit and were not injured.

The trailer is loaded with 38,000 lbs. of chicken. A clean-up crew is en route to the scene and was advised to bring a large amount of Absorb All due to oil across all lanes.

southbound 15 freeway closed in barstow
(Photo credit Tina Thompson-Arce)

CalTrans was informed to set up a hard closure of the No. 1 and 2 lanes, just north of L Street. Motorists on the freeway are reporting that traffic is already backed up for many miles. At 7:08 pm, a SigAlert was requested for an unknown duration.

CHP responded to an unrelated traffic collision at 4:48 pm, on the southbound I-15, near the Baker Blvd off-ramp. Per the logs, a semi rolled and overturned onto the right-hand shoulder. There is also heavy rain and wind reported in the area. No injuries were reported and the incident prompted a SigAlert to be issued at 6:37 p.m. that would last for at least 1 hour.

southbound 15 freeway closed in barstow
(Photo credit: Robin Robertson Lard//Facebook)

This is a developing story and information will be updated as it becomes available.

UPDATE — This is now a fatal investigation with preliminary information that two people in the SUV died at the scene.

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