Two people were killed Thursday morning after a head-on trucking accident between a semi-truck and an SUV on US 93 north of Wickenburg, authorities said. The victims, whose identities were not released, were the drivers of the vehicles, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
The cab of the semi-truck, which caught fire, was completely collapsed and still smoldering almost an hour after the 11 a.m. collision, said Officer Carrick Cook, a DPS spokesman. Debris from the SUV was scattered across the highway and the front of the vehicle was collapsed, he said.
US 93, which connects the Valley to Las Vegas, was expected to be closed for an extended period of time, Cook said.
The highway, which narrows to two lanes in the area north of Wickenburg, has had recent fatal crashes. In September, a semi-truck rolled on US 93 about 16 miles north of Wickenburg, leaving one person dead and closing the highway, DPS said. Also that month, DPS helicopter pilot Matt Uhl and two BMX bikers were killed in a head-on collision.
Until recently, US 93 was considered the deadly stretch of highway in all of Arizona. In the last ten years, ADOT has been working on renovation and improvement projects, including widening of the highway in key areas. The present statistics are unknown.
Currently, ADOT is working on a project to widen and improve the US 93 in the 200 mile stretch from Wickenburg to the Hoover Dam. The project will eventually expand the route into a four-lane divided highway, according to the department's website.
Around 500,000 trucking accidents occur every year in the United States. Of these, approximately 5,000 trucking accidents result in fatalities. In fact, one out of every eight traffic fatalities involves a trucking collision.
With so much traffic that passes through this specific part of US 93, the narrow roads should have been widened years ago. Not only because of the traffic, but also because of how many diesel trucks pass through this route on a daily basis.
Did a narrow road have anything to do with this collision? Possibly. Driver inattention? Likely. Other possibilities? Unknown at this point.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends affected by this tragedy.