Early morning accident leaves one person dead

The name of the driver has not been released.
Sunday, October 7, 2007 | 10:17 a.m. CDT; updated 7:19 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 16, 2008

COLUMBIA — One person is dead after an accident on Interstate 70 early Sunday morning.

Columbia police said a car was traveling eastbound near the 123.4 mile marker at about 3:30 a.m. when a semi-tractor trailer unit struck it in the rear, causing the car to catch on fire.

Columbia firefighters were called to the scene at about 4 a.m. and arrived to find the car in flames in the middle of the eastbound lanes, according to a fire department news release. After extinguishing the fire with water and foam, firefighters found the driver dead inside. The name of the driver is being withheld pending family notification.

The semi-tractor trailer went off the road and struck an embankment, but the driver, Jim Marchesi, 51, of Junction City, Kan., was not injured and was wearing his seatbelt, according to the police department release.

According to the fire department release, Marchesi was a contractor hauling U.S. Postal Service mail.

The Missouri Department of Transportation used its new electronic message boards to alert travelers on Interstate 70 that both eastbound lanes were closed about one-half mile west of Stadium Boulevard because of the accident.

As of 6:30 p.m. Sunday, police had no further information regarding the incident.

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