The driver of a semitrailer was killed Thursday in an accident that spread wreckage across nearly all lanes of Interstate 5 at the South 72nd/74th Street interchange.
The name of the driver was not immediately released.
The late-morning accident snarled freeway traffic through Tacoma in both directions. All lanes in both directions were reopened around 4:15 p.m.
The accident happened when the northbound semitrailer rear-ended the box truck traveling in front of it. The box truck spun and hit a sedan and an SUV, Washington State Patrol Trooper Shaneka Phillips said.
The semitrailer then hit the Jersey barrier that separates the north- and southbound lanes. The container the truck was carrying separated from the chassis and hit the semitrailer’s cab, Phillips said. The container and cab ended up in the southbound lanes while the chassis was in the northbound lanes.
The semitrailer driver died at the scene. Some of the other drivers involved were hurt but declined to be taken to a hospital, Phillips said.
The other damaged vehicles were in the northbound lanes. The Jersey barrier appeared to have been knocked out of place in the accident.
Traffic was reduced to one or two lanes in each direction with the backup on I-5 stretching to the Tacoma Dome in the southbound lanes and to DuPont in the northbound lanes.
Staff photographer Joshua Bessex contributed to this report.