Police: Dog caused crash that shut down NM freeway

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A dog running into traffic on a busy New Mexico freeway caused a chain reaction that led to a fiery crash involving a semi full of frozen meat that shut down part of the road and backed up traffic for nearly four hours, authorities said.

The crash happened Sunday on Interstate 40 in Albuquerque, KOB-TV reported (http://bit.ly/w9Ecuz).

Police said a man driving on the freeway saw a dog darting into traffic and pulled over. The man got out of his car to help the animal, and a female driver saw him on the road and slammed on her brakes.

A semi tractor-trailer hauling 36,000 pounds of frozen meat then slammed into the woman's vehicle and started on fire.

Police said the semi burst into flames almost instantly — sending up a plume of black smoke visible across the city — but the driver was able to escape uninjured. The woman and other man were also OK, but the dog died.

Fire crews arrived and quickly doused the engulfed semi. However, a portion of westbound I-40 had to be shut down so crews could clean up debris and some diesel fuel that leaked from the truck.

The freeway was open again Sunday evening.

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