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1 dead as semi truck smashes I-5 Jersey barrier in Tacoma

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Tacoma crash impacting NB & SB I-5. (Photo: Washington State Patrol)

TACOMA, Wash. -- A semi truck driver was killed in a crash that snarled I-5 traffic in Tacoma for hours Thursday and left three other vehicles damaged.

The truck was heading north around 11:30 a.m. when it collided with a box truck in an adjacent lane near S. 72nd Street, according to the Washington State Patrol. That triggered a chain-reaction crash involving two other nearby vehicles. During the mayhem, the semi truck crossed the freeway and struck the center Jersey barrier, according to Trooper Brooke Bova with the Washington State Patrol.

"The trailer detached from the chassis and struck the cab of the semi truck," Bova said. "The semi truck driver is deceased."

A box truck and two others vehicles were also struck during the incident. Some people inside those vehicles were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, Bova said.

The crash was blocking multiple lanes in both the northbound and southbound directions for several hours. All lanes were reopened just before 4:30 p.m.

Bova didn't say what caused the crash. A heavy rain squall was moving through the region late Thursday morning.

Second semi crash in Olympia creates traffic mess

Meanwhile, around the same time In Olympia, another semi truck jackknifed on I-5 southbound lanes at Eastside Street. DOT cameras showed the semi truck blocking all lanes:

The semi was cleared to the shoulder just after 12:30 p.m., but large backups were expected to linger into the early afternoon.

There are no additional details yet on what caused this crash but Trooper Shaneka Phillips said it only involved minor injuries.

A heavy rain squall was moving through the region at that time of the crash as well.