One eastbound lane of Interstate 26 near Columbus, North Carolina was closed for hours Wednesday night after a semi-truck driver jumped from his moving rig and caused a multi-vehicle crash near mile marker 66.
The truck traveled unattended for about a mile and a half before smashing into a guardrail, then coming to a halt after crashing into bushes at the side of the road, according to a North Carolina Highway Patrol spokesman.
Shortly after the truck crashed, another tractor-trailer rig hit the debris scattered on the highway from the accident and lost control of his rig, overturned and struck three other vehicles including a pickup truck, a flatbed and a third tractor-trailer van.
The drivers of the first two semis to crash were airlifted to local hospitals, the drivers of the flatbed and third tractor-trailer were taken to the hospital by EMS and the pickup driver was uninjured in the accident.
It's unclear why the driver abandoned his rig while it was traveling down the Saluda Grade just before 8 p.m., North Carolina Highway Patrol Master Trooper Darryl Bailey told Fox Carolina News.