RIVER FALLS, Wis. (WCCO) — The driver of a semi truck was killed Monday after a crash and fire that closed Interstate 94 in western Wisconsin Monday morning.

The semi truck was reportedly a fuel tanker carrying nearly 7,500 gallons of fuel. Authorities said the tanker was headed eastbound on the highway around 5:30 a.m. when it crossed the median and came to rest in the westbound lanes.

Authorities say the truck struck the northside of the Wisconsin 65 bridge pier, causing the rear of the trailer to separate from the cab and explode.

The explosion destroyed the semi and killed the lone occupant, who was from northern Wisconsin, according to The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT).

The driver’s name has not yet been released.

WisDOT says the carrier is from Kane Transportation Inc., which is out of Sauk Centre, Minn.

Traffic cameras showed a semi fully engulfed in flames at mile marker 10 in the city of Roberts, Wis.

Traffic — both eastbound and westbound — was rerouted. At around 6 p.m., traffic in all lanes resumed.

Due to the heat, the pavement of I-94 will need to be repaired. Crews are milling off the damaged pavement. Drivers should expect rough driving conditions in the area, WisDOT says.

Weight limits on Highway 65 will also be posted at 40 tons.

The bridge near which the trailer exploded is structurally sound, but it is being replaced as part of a pre-existing improvement plan, WisDOT says.

semi truck Driver Killed In Semi Truck Crash, Fire

(credit: Wisconsin Department of Transportation)

Comments (22)
  1. My Heart Bleeds says:

    SOOO sdd…..RIP. My heart broke seeing this, this morning.

  2. My Heart Bleeds says:

    Sorry, so sad….. pardon my inadvertent error.

  3. northern minnesota says:

    Truely sad. I feel for this person’s family.

  4. Ashley Lamphere says:

    Being the wife of a truck driver I feel for the family. RIP

  5. Trucker's Wife says:

    My thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of this person.

  6. Ethan says:

    Thank you all for your kindness and prayers. I wish this article could convey what a good husband and father my uncle was. He will truly be missed in my family. 😦

    1. m says:

      I am very sorry for the loss of your uncle.

    2. DONNA says:

      ethan what is his name?

    3. Carleen says:

      My husband works for Kane and knew this your Uncle. We are extremely sorry for your loss. Our deepest sympathy goes out to your family.

    4. Fellow fuel transport driver says:

      I was honored to get to know your uncle over the past 12 years.

      I didn’t work directly with him but I work for another fuel carrier. I saw him everyday when we were loading our trucks and I am honored to have known him.

      I hope that hearing the stories on how he touched so many people helps during these difficult times.

      I saw him Monday morning but didn’t get a chance to talk to him. Unfortunately the next time I saw his transport was when I was coming back from Menomonie and passed the incident. I had that gut feeling it was him…

      Today was hard as I looked for his trailer #245 everytime I pulled into the gas rack. I ran a load he usually did and when I got to the location there was a delivery bill there from last week with his signature on it. On returning I stopped by the bridge and reflected on his life and how knowing him has made me a better person.

  7. Casey says:

    Being the husband of a non-truck driver I really feel for the family.

  8. Thoughts and Prayers says:

    For the family and friends, I am so sorry for your loss. My husband is also a hazmat driver and had the opportunity to meet him, they worked for the same company. He said that he was a very nice family man. Your family will be in our thoughts and prayers.

  9. Truck Driver says:

    Im a truck driver & when I see or hear about others crash my heart jumps in my throut ,Im very sorry for ur loss take care of ur family & hold them close.

  10. melanie says:

    So sad. Thoughts and prayers are with the family… I know a guy whos ben friends with the driver for 12 years and hes absolutely devestated,.. He said how great of a guy he was and always talked about his great kids. 😦 So sad. Ethan so sorry for your loss..

  11. DONNA DEMKO says:


  12. angel62574 says:

    Always devastated to hear about tragedies like this, my dad and brother drive truck…my thoughts and prayers with the family and friends.

  13. Kremers says:

    My husband also works with him. He was truly a generous man and we know that he will be missed by many. Our sympathies go out to the family.

  14. Pete T. says:

    I am a fuel tanker driver for a local oil company and gas retail business. I knew this man, and although I did not work with him on a day to day bases, I can say that as fuel tanker drivers we are all aware of the dangers of our job and It really hits home when one of us leaves this world in such a tragic way. My most heart felt prayers and deepest sympathies go out to his family. God Bless.

  15. Judy says:

    My x-husband is a semi driver and he always said the worst time of the day to drive was in the early morning hours.. My thoughts and prayers go out to family and friends during this most difficult time.. We are VERY sorry for your loss.

  16. billy says:

    @ DONNA….It says he was a husband so that tells me he is married so I doubt it is your boyfriend, please read the other postings before writing something. Prayers with the family Ethan, just hope he did not suffer.

  17. Brian says:

    My thoughts and prayers to family of the driver. I was west bound on I94, three cars east of the crash(less than 1/4 mile). I was just sick all day. Wondering if there is was anything I could do? I was also worried there were more cars involved thank God there was not.

  18. tracy says:

    What a horrific accident. My chest feels so heavy when I read something like this. I don’t know if this is what other people see, but it looks to me like for whatever reason he went off the road, but once he hit the median and started accross it into the westbound lane it looks like he jerked it back real quick to the right to miss those on coming cars…that’s when you see the sparks…as he’s trying to keep it from going straight into the westbound lanes, into on coming traffic…almost looks like he was trying to strattle the road, the side of the road and the ditch, but then seconds later you see the explosion. l I don’t know if this guy fell asleep or what but I have NO DOUBT that once he hit the median, he came to or whatever and tried to re-gain control and miss the on coming traffic…which incidently is a steady stream of cars going into the cities at that time of the morning. The fact that he didn’t hit any cars at all when he did finally cross lanes, proves to me that he was awake and alert and trying to save as many lives as he could even though he knew at some point he was either going to eventually hit something like the bridge or wreck in the ditch but either way he knew he was going to die. May God bless !!

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