I-40 Reopens Following Early Morning Fiery Crash

BENSON – A beach trip nearly turned into a disaster early Saturday morning when a car heading east on I-40 near Benson stopped to change a blown tire.

A backseat passenger wisely insisted that all occupants exit the vehicle while the tire was changed. Moments later he yelled, “Get out of the road, get out of the road” and pushed his girlfriend out of the way when he spotted an SUV speeding right toward them. The SUV struck the Honda at 70 mph and both vehicles traveled down the road for nearly 150 feet before bursting into flames.

Passenger DeAndre McKnight said, “A split second and we could all have been dead.”

Meadow and Benson Firefighters quickly arrived on the scene and extinguished the burning cars. The SUV driver was found lying on the side of the road with non-life threatening injuries. He reportedly admitted to the investigating trooper that he had been distracted by his phone at the time of the crash.

Eastbound lanes of I-40 were shut down during the incident. None of the Honda passengers were injured.

In a TV interview “hero” McKnight made a plea to other drivers, “Get off your phones, get off your phones!”

Photos by John Payne