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Hillsville man killed in La. crash

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RUSTON, La. — Federal Express driver Anthony Sifford of Hillsville, Va., was killed in a collision of tractor-trailers Wednesday morning on Interstate 20 in Louisianna.

Sifford, 41, died at the scene after the crash at 8:22 a.m. His passenger, Rodney Palmer of Martinsville, Va., died at 1 a.m. Thursday of severe burns at the Louisianna State University Medical Center in Shreveport.

The Ruston Police Department said preliminary results from its investigation indicate that an eastbound 2004 Freightliner 18-wheeler with possible mechanical problems was traveling very slowly in the right-hand lane and was struck by Sifford's eastbound 18-wheeler that was changing lanes.

The slow-moving 18-wheeler was owned by TARA Wrecker Inc. of Jonesboro, Ga. It was carrying two very large generators that had been used in the Hurricane Ike relief efforts. It was being driven by Pete Francis, 35, also of Jonesboro, Ga., who sustained minor injuries.

Sifford's vehicle burst into flames upon impact. It was owned by Federal Express.

Palmer escaped from the burning vehicle but was severely burned and was airlifted to the LSU Medical Center.

Interstate travel was halted in both directions for several hours and traffic was re-routed.

Police said it appeared that alcohol was not a factor.

Francis was issued four citations by the Louisianna State Police for log book violations and for operating a commercial vehicle in violation of the 14-hour driving rule.

An investigation is continuing.