Both lanes of northbound Interstate 17 have reopened after cattle triggered a fatal multi-vehicle crash early Wednesday morning.
A woman was killed when she was hit outside her pickup on the main highway between Flagstaff and Phoenix, said Bart Graves of the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
The second of two lanes reopened about 9:30 a.m., but traffic was backed up at least five miles, according to an Arizona Department of Transportation spokesman.
The chain-reaction started about 3 a.m. when the pickup truck with three women inside struck one of the livestock on the highway between New River and Rock Springs north of Phoenix.
The driver of the pickup got out to see the damage when the driver of a semi-truck stopped his rig to tell the woman to get back into her pickup, Graves said.
As he was talking with the woman, a tanker truck rear-ended the semi, pushing it into the woman and killing her, Graves said.
The two passengers in the pickup were hurt, one with life-threatening injuries, Graves said.
The bodies of at least two cows could be seen among the wreckage.
The first of the two northbound lanes reopened about 8 a.m. at Table Mesa Road, but traffic remained backed up for at least three miles, according to the ADOT spokesman.
ADOT said alternative routes to connect with Interstate 40 in northern Arizona include State Route 87 through Payson to Winslow or U.S. Highway 60 to Wickenburg and then State Route 89 to Ash Fork via Prescott.
The crash happened about 3 a.m. near Rock Springs (mile post 242), according to the spokesman.
No other information was immediately available.
Stay with cbs5az.com and CBS 5 News as this story develops.
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