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I-5 reopens near Chehalis after horrific semi truck rollover crash

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Washington State Patrol photo

CHEHALIS, Wash. - A horrific crash involving a semi truck and two other vehicles closed southbound Interstate 5 for several hours Thursday near Chehalis, the Washington State Patrol reports. The freeway has now reopened.

State troopers and medics responded to the crash, on I-5 between Centralia and Chehalis, at about 6:35 a.m. Thursday after receiving reports of a serious collision involving a semi.

An overturned semi trailer and two other damaged vehicles were found at the scene.

The driver of the semi truck was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with severe injuries. It was not immediately known if anyone else was injured.

A preliminary investigation found that the semi truck was heading north in the northbound lanes when it veered to the left, smashed through the concrete barrier into the oncoming southbound lanes and rolled over, sliding across the pavement on its side.

"Horrible way to start the month," Trooper Will Finn said in a Twitter posting.

Southbound I-5 was closed at the scene for about seven hours during the investigation and cleanup of the crash. The freeway reopened at about 1:30 p.m.

Transportation officials said it would take some time for a seven-mile traffic backup to clear after I-5 reopened.