FALL RIVER (CBS) – A truck driver was seriously injured after a fiery crash on Route 79 southbound in Fall River early Sunday morning.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Doug Cope reports.

State police said 42-year-old Luis Cotto struck the barrier on the right side of the roadway, veered to the left, went up onto a curb and rode along the guardrail before striking a steel support.

The crash ignited a wooden scaffold that was there due to ongoing construction, police said. The heat from the fire may have weakened some of the support beams.

“Most of the fire damage, or the scorching, was the supports from the southbound deck up to the underside of the northbound deck, so the most heavily affected steel is all blackened and distorted from the fire,” said state highway administrator Frank DePaola.

A state trooper found the driver unconscious and hung over a jersey barrier on the road, and then dragged him about 180 feet away from the crash.

Authorities were forced to close several roadways for a time on Sunday:

  • Rt. 79 southbound at Davol Street
  • Rt. 79 southbound at Veterans Bridge
  • Davol Street to Rt. 79 southbound
  • Broadway to Rt. 79 northbound
  • Rt. 195 eastbound to Milliken Boulevard.

Drivers are urged to avoid the area.

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