UPDATED at 9:20 a.m. Monday with additional detail about cause of crash
ST. LOUIS — Two people died Sunday after a sedan plowed into the back of a tractor-trailer on Interstate 44 at Park Avenue and Seventh Street south of downtown.
The names and ages of the two male victims — the driver and his passenger — had not been released as of Monday morning.
The crash was in the eastbound lanes about 2:30 p.m. Sunday. That stretch of interstate near downtown is also designated as northbound Interstate 55.
The Missouri Department of Transportation closed three right lanes of I-44/55 there for several hours while authorities investigated. At 4 p.m. Sunday, traffic was backed up for a mile or more, and the front half of the silver Volkswagen was still stuck underneath the back of the tractor-trailer, the car’s roof peeled back by the impact.
The crash happened less than a mile from the on-ramp to the Poplar Street Bridge, which was closed this weekend due to repair work on the road surface.
The truck was driven by a 47-year-old man. He told police had he turned on his flashing hazard lights to warn other motorists of a slow down as he came to a stop. Once the trucker came to a stop, he was rear-ended by the Volkswagen, police said.
Several onlookers said they heard the crash, and didn’t think there was any screeching or skidding tires before impact.
“It sounded like a trash truck dropping a whole trash container,” said Darryl Jones, 51, who lives near the highway and the crash site. “Except louder.”
Accident reconstruction teams were called from the St. Louis Police Department, which had close to 10 vehicles on scene.