Two major accidents involving a Tuscaloosa Police cruiser, an overturned tractor trailer and several other vehicles caused a traffic nightmare on Skyland Boulevard and injured five people Wednesday morning, including two children who were seriously injured.

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According to a release from the Tuscaloosa Police Department spokesperson, the initial accident happened at 7:32 a.m. Wednesday near the I-20/59 off-ramp at the intersection of Exit 76 and Skyland Boulevard. A west-bound box truck carrying a load overturned in the inside lane of Skyland Boulevard in front of Pilot Travel Center.

At 7:43 a.m., a woman driving a minivan exited the eastbound ramp on I-20/59 when she struck a separate 18-wheeler flatbed hauling building supplies, pushing it across the median into the westbound lanes where the initial accident occurred.

The flatbed struck a TPD police cruiser and ALDOT truck that was used to assist the first accident. The TPD officer was standing on the driver's side and avoided injuries.

The release stated a woman and four children in the van were taken to DCH Regional Medical Center with injuries. Two of the children were later transported to a hospital in Birmingham with serious injuries.

Mayor Walt Maddox was at the scene and released a statement on Facebook and Twitter about the two crashes, asking the public for prayers to the children and "first responders who are always there for us."

The westbound lanes on Skyland Boulevard, as well as the off-ramp from I-20/59 eastbound are closed and motorists are asked to avoid the area as law enforcement agencies, including TPD, Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue, ALDOT and the State Troopers continue to work the scene.

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