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RICHARDSON (CBSDFW.COM) – A horrific crash involving three vehicles shut down a part of Central Expressway in Richardson late Wednesday night. It all happened shortly before midnight just north of Campbell Road. One woman died in the incident.

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Police first received a call about a car that was stalled in the lefthand lane of the highway. But just a few moments later, a second car rammed into the back of that stalled vehicle. And, after that, a pickup truck slammed into them both. That final crash caused the second vehicle — trapped in the middle of the first and third cars — to catch on fire.

The car was already engulfed in flames when first responders arrived at the scene.

Two people escaped from the burning car, however, a woman was unable to get out. She died at the scene. The woman was later identified as 51-year-old Wanzhen Zhou of Plano. The victim was in the backseat of the car, a Toyota Corolla. Her 25-year-old daughter was driving and her husband was in the front passenger seat, according to Sgt. Kevin Perlich with the Richardson Police Department.

“We’re not certain whether or not the crash resulted in the death, or if it was the fire that led to her death,” Perlich said.

The husband was injured and taken to a nearby hospital. His condition is not known.

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Perlich stated that there is no evidence of alcohol playing a factor in either crash, and it is too early to tell if any charges will be filed. The driver of the stalled car, a Ford Focus, was not at the crash scene when authorities arrived and has not yet been located.

“In cases like this,” Perlich explained, “you always ask yourself, ‘If you could’ve got there sooner, could you have done something?’ and stuff like that. So, that’s something that you always have to struggle with. And somehow, you have to think you did what you could and move on.”

The freeway was shut down for around six hours early Thursday while investigators were at the scene and workers tried to clean up the mess. Part of the road is still charred from the deadly fire.

(credit: KTVT/KTXA)

(credit: KTVT/KTXA)

This was not the only incident to shut down a highway early Thursday. A rollover crash in Irving closed the northbound lanes of Highway 161 near Belt Line Road. It happened at about 3:30 a.m. as a guardrail went through the driver’s door. Amazingly, rescuers were able to get the driver out alive. He was taken to a hospital, but his condition is not known. No word about what might have caused the crash.

While workers were responding to the Irving incident, a pickup truck slammed into the back of a tow truck at the scene, creating a second crash at the same location. The driver of the pickup truck also had to be rescued, and was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

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Meanwhile, yet another crash shut down some lanes of the Dallas North Tollway near Belt Line Road in Dallas. A driver lost control of a Chevrolet Tahoe and hit the freeway’s center barrier along the northbound side. But the crash knocked a lightpole down into the southbound side of the highway. As many as three vehicles then hit the pole. Nobody was hurt during this incident.