AUSTIN -- Interstate 35 reopened around 9 a.m. Friday, nearly eight hours after a crash involving an 18-wheeler and pickup truck that killed two and sent five to area hospitals.
Police closed I-35 just north of the U.S. 183 interchange near the Rundberg Lane exit shortly after 1 a.m. when the 18-wheeler crashed into the back of the pickup. Police said the pickup was either stalled, slowing down or just stopped on the highway. The 18-wheeler then rolled over onto the frontage road as it swerved.
To stop a fully load 18-wheeler going about 65 mph, it takes the length of one to two football fields.
"It does take a lot longer and I don't know if people understand that," said truck driver Jesse Moreno .
Austin-Travis County EMS said two women died at the scene. The Travis County Medical Examiner identified the women as Telesfora Moran Fuentes, 46 and Yesenia Nayeli Resendiz, 23. Both women were from Oklahoma City.
Two other adults, including the woman driving the 18-wheeler, were taken to University Medical Center-Brackenridge. Three children were taken to Dell Children's Medical Center. One of those children, Camila Resendiz, died at Dell Children's from her injuries. She would have been 1-year-old on Wednesday.
"So many cops," said Van Ly, who was visiting from Dallas. "I thought like it was a big car accident, but by the time I got here everything was like basically cleaned up. There were still some car parts around the highway."
Ly said it took her an hour to get back to her hotel from downtown.
"They blocked every single entrance and then we had to find a way in," Ly said.
Moreno has one request for drivers on the interstate.
"Since I have the chance to, just please don't do that; like, just don't try to cut us off," Moreno said. "You got to understand where we're coming from. Like we're trying to be as safe as possible".
Since State Highway 130 opened, there's been a push to get truckers to take that route instead of I-35, but Moreno said the cost of using the toll road is too high and would come out of his pocket
Police do not think alcohol played a role in the crash, but said they are still investigating the cause of the crash.
Two other drivers not connected to the crash were arrested for disregarding traffic barriers and entering the crime scene. The driver of a motorcycle and a car are both facing DWI charges.
A man claiming to be the son of the semi driver told KVUE his mother was in shock and had a fractured bone, but is expected to recover. He added that she had been driving a truck for 25 years and never had an accident.