my prayers this morning for everyone involved and their families and loved ones. sounds like he also hit a suv, a pick up truck and a sedan in FRONT of the motorcycles. how incredibly horrible.
In what police described as a "horrific accident," eight motorcycles carrying nine people were stopped at the intersection of 27th Drive and Carefree Highway on Thursday afternoon when the truck barreled through, pinning three bodies underneath before bursting into flames, police said.
Witnesses described a chaotic scene where many tried to help until rescuers arrived.
"I grabbed all the water I could and took blankets because there were bodies everywhere. It was horrible," said Lynn McDowell, an employee of a nearby Walgreens drugstore.
Three people were pronounced dead at the scene. Six more were in critical condition, including a veteran Phoenix fire captain who was taken into surgery Thursday afternoon, said a Phoenix Fire Department spokesman. A medical helicopter landed at least twice to transfer victims to the hospital.
The truck driver and fire captain were not immediately identified. Identities also were pending late Thursday on the other victims in the crash.
"As a motorcycle officer and motorcycle rider, I have never seen such a horrific accident," Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris said.
After the truck hit the motorcycles, the truck burst into flames and hit a sport-utility vehicle, a pickup and a sedan that were in front of the motorcycles. No one in those vehicles was injured, said Phil Dyer, a spokesman for the Daisy Mountain Fire Department, which also responded to the crash.
Afterward, the Blue Sky Sanitation truck was smoking, and popping could be heard before the fiery explosion. Witnesses saved at least two people who were near the truck by pulling them to safety.
At least 50 firefighters and two ladder crews responded to the scene. Dozens of onlookers gathered around the wreckage.
Tania Krukoff, an employee at the Walgreens at 27th Drive and Carefree Highway, said she was on break and returning from filling her tank at a nearby gas station when she saw the scene.
"There were no police here," she said. "There were bodies everywhere."
"There was a fire right after the accident," Krukoff added. "Three of the motorcyclists' bodies were underneath the truck and on fire."
Krukoff said she talked to the truck's driver.
"He was in shock," she said. "I didn't smell no alcohol. He told me he wasn't paying attention, just shuffling with his paperwork."
Police said the initial investigation found no evidence the driver was impaired.
The truck driver "got out of the truck and tried to help the people under the truck," said McDowell, the other Walgreens employee.
"The flames were so high you couldn't get close," she said.
She and others took fire extinguishers from Walgreens to try to extinguish the flames.
Witnesses described the loud sound of the crash.
"It was like a gunshot," said Mike Nash, who lives nearby and came out to help. "It sounded like explosions going off in a series. It sounded different than your normal or conventional crash."
Twenty-three-year-old Maritza Lomba, who works at a nearby Peter Piper Pizza, said: "We were sitting in Peter Piper Pizza, we see this puff of black smoke. People started trickling out to see, and the fireman, he was spraying at the front of the truck.
"After it happened, everyone started running to the truck," she said. "It was pandemonium."