By Rick Sallinger

Jefferson County, Colo. (CBS4) – Officials have released the names of two people who died on Thursday when a semi truck carrying gravel and dirt slammed into several cars and caught fire on C-470 in Jefferson County. Samuel Molina, 37, of Commerce City, the truck driver, and Brenda Montague, 52, of Lakewood, both died.

(CBS)

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Molina’s semi was heading southeast between West Bowles Avenue and Ken Caryl Avenue late in the morning when it had a malfunction. Authorities said Friday that one of its front tires failed and had a blowout. After that, it veered through the median and into oncoming traffic.

(CBS)

The semi hit several cars, including the one Montague was driving. The truck, with Montague’s car trapped beneath its cab, dropped 30 feet over a concrete barrier along the side of C-470 where both caught fire.

(credit: CBS)

Master Trooper Gary Cutler said the truck driver was required to do an inspection before getting on the road.

“They’re supposed to do checks with their vehicles, walk around make sure nothing hanging off anything that might look like it’s broken,” he told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger.

Sometimes the tire issues can be spotted he said, sometimes not.

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The center median and a wall along the right side of the westbound lanes were damaged. The path was also damaged.

(credit: CBS)

Molina had previous traffic convictions ranging from going through a stop sign to speeding to safety violations.

In addition to the two fatalities, several other people were hurt, including a motorcycle rider.

(credit: CBS)

“Nobody said any kind of driving behavior that caught their attention including speed weaving, so they didn’t see any kind of bad driving behavior with it,” said Cutler.

There was a barrier in the median, but the truck was carrying sand and believed to be doing the speed limit when it crashed through the barrier.

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Crews worked late into the day to clear C-470 and all lanes were reopened by Thursday evening. The bike path where the semi landed will be closed for an undetermined amount of time.

Rick Sallinger