UPDATE: Driver identified in I-80 fatal crash - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Driver identified in I-80 fatal crash

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by Bryan Goettel

IOWA CITY (KWWL) -- The Iowa State Patrol has released the names in the fiery I-80 crash in Johnson County.

38-year-old Mathew Libby of Clinton died when he crossed the median and hit 64-year-old Douglas Mode of Brookings, South Dakota.

The state patrol reports Mode was driving east on Interstate I-80. Both vehicles were fully engulfed in flames after colliding.

Interstate 80 East through Iowa City was closed until 12:20 Tuesday morning while police cleaned the fiery crash at mile marker 248, just west of the Herbert Hoover Highway exit.

The crash happened around 7:00 pm Monday.  Police are not releasing any details on injuries of any fatalities.

One witness described it as the scariest thing he'd ever seen in his life. Sam Jadali was driving on Interstate 80 just east of Iowa City when he said he was passed on the shoulder by an SUV going at very high speed. Jadali e-mailed the KWWL newsroom and said the vehicle then went through the median and crashed head-on with a semi.

The smoke could be seen for miles. Around 7:00 monday night a fiery crash brought eastbound i-80 to a standstill.

"As soon as I heard the crash, I looked over and saw an explosion and flames over the top of the fence and sparks just flying everywhere," said witness Matthew Swim.

Swim was just getting off work when he saw it all happen from the parking lot of Bockenstedt Excavating, just a few hundred feet from the crash.

"It was surprisingly just like in the movies," said Swim.  "I was just waiting. We called 9-1-1 right away and were just hoping for the best."

Swim said he saw people trying to stop the flames on the semi with fire extinguishers. He watched people pull the truck driver out and he says eventually he was put into an ambulance.

"After they got the driver of the truck out, I realized there wasn't much hope for the person in the other vehicle," said Swim.

I also spoke with employees who were working inside Bockenstedt Excavating at the time of the crash. They, too said they could hear the explosion. Eastbound traffic had to be rerouted through Highway 1 for several hours.

Online Reporter: Bryan Goettel

Online Producer: Michelle Caldwell

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