UPDATE: Police have released the name of the driver killed in the crash on Interstate 70 Monday morning.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol says a truck driven by Sean Gibson, 41, rear-ended another semi. That truck in turn struck a Toyota SUV, which overturned in the median, and then rear-ended another tractor trailer. Gibson was ejected from the cab and pronounced dead at the scene.
Two people were in the Toyota. They were taken to University Hospital with moderate injuries.
EARLIER STORY: Firefighters say the driver of a tractor trailer was killed in a crash that involved two other semi trucks and a passenger vehicle.
Gale Blomenkamp, a battalion chief with the Boone County Fire Protection District, said the crash happened just before 10:30 a.m. Monday at the 120 mile marker. Crews arrived to find one of the three semis engulfed in flame and the passenger car on its side in the median. He said the driver of the truck that caught fire was pronounced dead at the scene while the two people in the passenger car were taken to University Hospital with moderate injuries. The drivers of the other two tractor trailers were unhurt.
Crews were forced to shut down the eastbound lanes, causing backups that stretched for miles. Police were seen directing cars and trucks to turn around and drive west in the eastbound lanes to reach Exit 117.
Blomenkamp said the fire happened when a fuel tank ruptured as a result of the crash. He said while Boone County crews deal with crashes on I-70 all the time, a crash of this magnitude is not common.
"A fatality accident, three tractor trailers involved, one on fire, those are fairly rare," he said.
Blomenkamp said the Highway Patrol is investigating what caused the crash.
Eastbound traffic on I-70 west of Columbia has been shut down due to a fatality accident involving three tractor-trailer units and one passenger vehicle, and a spokesman says it may remain shut down until about 2:00 Monday afternoon.
One person is dead and two were injured and transported to University Hospital. There is no word on their condition.
According to spokesperson Gale Blomenkamp of the Boone County Fire Protection District, the shutdown is at the 120 mile marker, near midway. Traffic is expected to remain blocked until about 2:00, at which time Blomenkamp says at least one lane of eastbound traffic should be open.
The accident happened at about 10 a.m. and immediately shut down the eastbound lanes as one or more of the tractor trailer rigs caught fire.
No other information is available at this time.