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WATCH: Highway severely damaged after tanker truck explodes

A busy stretch of Interstate 25 in Denver was severely damaged after a tanker truck caught fire and exploded Wednesday. The driver of the truck suffered injuries, but was pulled from the truck by passing motorists and workers.

>> Click here to watch

Firefighters responded to Interstate 25 in southern Denver around noon local time after the semi caught fire, CBS affiliate KCNC-TV reports

>> WATCH: Massive fire erupts on I-75 after deadly Ohio gas tanker crash

The station reports a preliminary investigation found a blown tire on the semi sparked the blaze, causing the tanker to explode, but an official cause was not released. 

 >> RELATED: Viewers capture Dayton, Ohio, I-75 crash, fire, explosion

A witness told KCNC-TV he saw the semi lose control and hit a barrier just before the fire started.

“When he came to a stop I could see fuel, on the road northbound,” said Dave Fretz, a witness to the incident. “It was smoking and there was some flames happening in the back part of it. I knew this guy was in a truck and I didn’t see him come out of the truck.”

 >> VIDEO: DOT camera captures Ohio I-75 crash, explosion

>> PHOTOS: Images from fiery wrong-way crash on I-75 in Ohio

Fretz told the station while he went to check on the driver’s side of the semi, two Colorado Department of Transportation workers had pulled the driver from the passenger’s side and were helping him away from the fire.

Fretz said the driver was suffering from head and arm injuries, but the official condition of the driver was unavailable. 

All 10 lanes of the highway, five in each direction, were shut down for several hours for crews to extinguish the blaze, forcing over 200,000 daily commuters to be diverted around the scene. By the Wednesday evening commute, three lanes were open on the southbound side of Interstate 25, but the northbound lanes remained closed into Thursday morning. 

>> Large fire leads to I-85 collapse in Atlanta

KCNC-TV reports the Colorado Department of Transportation will work overnight with hopes to reopen the remaining lanes by the Thursday morning commute. 

CDOT workers said damage to the highway on the southbound lanes went about three inches deep into the pavement, but crews had yet to evaluate the extent of damage to the northbound lanes. 

>> Read more trending news

Officials said they will need to remove the toxic mixture of chemicals, foam, and water still in the roadway before repairs could be made. 

Orlando airport standoff: Mother with children feared she'd be shot in the back

Operations at Florida's Orlando International Airport resumed as normal Wednesday morning, hours after the end of a standoff involving a 26-year-old man holding a fake gun, the Orlando Police Department said.

>> Watch the news report here

Michael Wayne Pettigrew was undergoing a psychological evaluation following the two-hour standoff during which he threatened to harm himself and pointed a fake gun at officers at a rental car area on the airport's ground floor, Orlando police Chief John Mina said.

>> Read more trending news

Police said that shortly before 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, they received a report that there was an armed man at the airport.

>> On WFTV.com: Watch: Passengers describe standoff at Orlando International Airport

"Our negotiators did a phenomenal job talking with the subject for about two hours and finally got him to peacefully surrender," Mina said.

The suspect surrendered at about 10 p.m.

Crystal Oliphant said she was picking up her husband from the airport Tuesday night.

>> On WFTV.com: Watch: Orlando police Chief John Mina news conference on OIA standoff

"(We were) terrified," she said. "Immediately, we think that there's a bomb or that there's a shooting going on. And we're not getting any information. And there's hundreds of police (officers) just coming in."

Passengers and employees bolted once they realized what was happening.

Witness Kim Turner told WFTV that she saw the suspect dressed in black but she couldn't make out his face because she was hiding with her two children.

>> On WFTV.com: Photos: Standoff at Orlando International Airport

Turner waited for an opportunity to run to safety, and when she did, she said she saw the suspect point what appeared to be a gun at his own head.

Although the gun was fake, it seemed very real to Turner.

"I actually had a thought of me getting shot in the back," she said. "I was standing here, literally just sitting here, looking at him, waiting, because everybody else is gone."

No one was injured in the incident.

The Golden Gate Bridge turns 80

The Golden Gate Bridge marks its 80th year Saturday. 

The iconic bridge opened to pedestrians on May 27, 1937, and opened to vehicular traffic the next day.

>> Read more trending news

The Golden Gate Bridge, which took over four years to construct, was an engineering marvel of its time. The bridge continues to be one of the country's most recognizable landmarks.

Taking Uber or Lyft? Read these 7 safety tips before getting in the car

City dwellers, students, travelers and citizens without vehicles of their own often rely on ride-hailing services such as Uber or Lyft to get from one place to the next.

>> Read more trending news 

But with all the news stories involving imposter drivers, driver-involved assaults and violent altercations, passengers should take some precautions before getting into the vehicle.

» Related: Is Uber safe? People questioning after reports of recent assaults 

Here are some safety tips for passengers when using a rideshare service:

Confirm the name of the driver and make of the vehicle.

There have been several cases of people posing as drivers, but both Uber and Lyft offer passengers details such as the driver’s name, their photo and car type.

According to Campbell Matthews, a Lyft representative, the company also offers an “amplified” way to identify your driver.

Lyft drivers have a bright, color-changing pill-shaped device (called the Amp) made of multiple LED lights on their dashboards.

The color in your Lyft app will match the color of the Amp in your driver’s car. 

Before getting in the car, make sure you’re getting in the right one.

» Related: Uber driver charged with assault on pregnant passenger 

Check the driver’s rating.

Just like you’re less likely to sign a lease on an apartment known for its low management or maintenance ratings and reviews, rideshare ratings can be used to determine the quality and safety of your ride.

Rideshare apps give passengers their potential driver’s ratings ahead of the car’s arrival, so if you’re uncomfortable with the rating, cancel your ride and call another.

Share your trip details with friends or family.

According to Uber, you’re able to tap “Share status” in the mobile app and share your driver’s name, photo, license plate and location with a friend or family member.

They can then track your trip without downloading the Uber app.

» Related: Uber plans to take ride-sharing off the ground 

Lyft users can tap the “Send ETA” icon on the bottom bar, which will send a text message to family or friends with a link to your current route and location.

If your ride-hailing service doesn’t offer a quick status or ETA share, snap a photo of the vehicle’s license plate and send the photo (and any additional details) to a family member or friend.

Avoid riding in the front seat.

Passengers (especially women) who ride up front have been on the receiving end of assaults, groping and other aggressive, unwanted behavior, according to Taxicab, Limousine and Paratransit Association spokesman Dave Sutton.

» Cops: Fake Uber driver sexually assaulted woman leaving Buckhead bar 

Follow along in your own maps app.

Open up your own maps tool, enter your destination and follow along, noting any odd route shifts.

Travel in groups when possible.

There’s often safety in numbers. Try riding with a friend or two or consider using the carpool option some ride-hailing services offer (Uber Pool, Lyft Line).

Trust your gut.

If you have an inkling of discomfort or sense something fishy, don’t get in the car. If you’re already on the road and are in an emergency situation, call 911 immediately.

Sticky situation: Truck dumps hundreds of watermelons on I-85 near Atlanta

Hundreds of watermelons are ruined, but a busy freeway ramp near metro Atlanta has reopened.

According to the WSB 24-hour Traffic Center, a truck overturned Thursday morning, dumping watermelons on the ramp from I-85 North to I-985 North in Georgia’s Gwinnett County and causing traffic headaches for nearly two hours.

>> Read more trending news

Details about the crash have not been released.

Georgia Department of Transportation crews cleaned up the mess and reopened the ramp just after 8 a.m., the Traffic Center reported.

Plane carrying 4 disappears over Bermuda Triangle; debris found

Members of the Coast Guard have located debris they believe belongs to a plane that was carrying a New Hampshire man and three others, including two children.

>> Watch the news report here

Nathan Ulrich from Lee, New Hampshire, was listed as the pilot for the plane, which was flying from Puerto Rico to Titusville, Florida, on Monday morning when it disappeared.

A businesswoman from New York, Jennifer Blumin, and her two young sons were passengers on the plane. Blumin was listed as the owner of the plane.

Ulrich is an engineer and the co-founder of a company that makes adult scooters. His ex-wife, actor Rae Dawn Chong, tweeted about what was happening Tuesday.

Ulrich's father, Gael, issued the following statement to WFXT:

"We were devastated and shocked to learn that Nathan, Jennifer and her children have been missing since leaving from Puerto Rico on Monday. Nathan is our beloved son, brother and uncle and we wish for resolution as the Coast Guard search continues. Our prayers and thoughts are with the Blumin family and James Ramsey in this difficult time.

>> Read more trending news

"We appreciate the respect for our privacy as we deal with the situation together with our family and prefer no further press contact. We appreciate the kind wishes and thoughts of those who have reached out to us."

The Coast Guard said it believes the debris is from the missing plane flown by Ulrich.

"Some of the helicopters that found the debris field yesterday, they were able to recover some components from the debris that we sent to the aircraft mechanic who confirmed they are from the same type of airplane as the missing airplane," Eric Woodall from the USCG said.

Texting while driving: Surprising number in one age group say it’s OK

A national survey shows 46 percent of drivers in one age group think texting behind the wheel is just fine.

The most accepting group? People ages 25 to 34, research from insurancequotes.com finds.

>> Read more trending news

The group represents a big slice of millennials, many of whom grew up with mobile devices in hand. The next highest approval rate for sending texts on the go comes from ages 35 to 44, with 22.7 percent.

The survey of 2,000 Americans found 13.7 percent of drivers 18 to 24 were OK with texting while driving, while other age groups approved at 10.1 percent or less.

study released in April that relied on devices in cars found 92 percent of U.S. drivers with cell phones have used them for texting or calling while in a moving vehicle in the past 30 days. Florida received the nation’s worst score for such use after Louisiana.

“I’m not surprised by the results of the study,” state Rep. Emily Slosberg, D-Boca Raton said. “We’re one of four states that don’t make texting while driving a primary offense.”

It’s a secondary offense in Florida, meaning police can’t cite it unless a driver is pulled over for something else. Bills to strengthen penalties did not pass in the legislative session that ended May 8.

>>  Related: 92 percent of motorists use phone while driving; Florida gets study's 2nd worst score

Texting was involved in 6 percent of accidents and cell phone use including talking was a factor in 26 percent of crashes, the National Safety Council found in 2015. Overall phone use in accidents has been rising for several years, researchers said.

Is it acceptable to send text messages while driving?

Age/yes answers

18-24 -- 13.7%

25-34 -- 46.3%

35-44 -- 22.7 %

45-54 -- 10.1%

55-64 -- 5.6%

65-74 -- 1.4%

75+ -- 0.1%

Owners of giant rabbit that died on United Airlines flight threaten lawsuit

United Airlines suffered another problematic PR situation Monday, with the threat of a lawsuit surrounding the death of a giant rabbit who died onboard a flight last month.

The 3-foot-long rabbit named Simon — who was en route from his breeder in London to his new owners in Iowa — was found dead in his crate after the plane stopped in Chicago.

>> Giant 3-foot rabbit found dead on United Airlines flight

According to ABC News, although the airline apparently reached an agreement with the breeder on Monday, the would-be owners, a group of Des Moines-area businessmen who had bought Simon and intended to display him at this summer’s Iowa State Fair, are threatening legal action. Simon had been expected to grow to as much as 40 pounds, which would have made him the world’s largest rabbitCBS News reported.

The would-be owners are not only upset about his death but also are questioning why he was cremated so quickly.

>> Read more trending news

Their attorney, Guy Cook, said they are "requesting that United Airlines re-evaluate its policies with respect to the transportation of pets and ask that they take responsibility for this incident," ABC News reported.

United spokesman Charles Hobart said the airline is reviewing a letter from the owners' attorneys and "takes its responsibilities in transporting pets seriously," ABC News reported.

Read more here.

– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

TSA warns of possible truck-ramming terrorist attacks

Trucks and buses are at the center of the latest government warning regarding possible terrorist attacks, and big cities are being told to stay on alert.

>> Watch the news report here

The Transportation Security Administration is warning truck and bus companies to be on the on the lookout for potential terrorists. It says terrorists may be looking to drive large vehicles into people and buildings.

In a six-page document released to truck and bus companies, the TSA highlighted 17 incidents around the world that have killed more than 170 people since 2014.

>> Read more trending news

This comes after the recent attack in Stockholm, Sweden, where a truck was driven into pedestrians on a street before crashing into a department store. Four people were killed.

More than 80 people were killed in Nice, France, last summer when a man drove a truck into a large crowd.

This announcement also comes as the city of Boston and Red Sox officials made a decision to close down Lansdowne Street outside Fenway Park on game days to prevent potential terror attacks.

During this year’s Boston Marathon, security officials took new steps to make sure runners and fans were safe.

Dump trucks were parked alongside streets to protect the crowds and officers received additional training to detect if someone was up to something suspicious.

Family kicked off Delta flight over seating snafu

A Southern California family was kicked off a Delta flight over a dispute about a child's seat.

The Schears were attempting to travel from Maui to Los Angeles on April 23. They boarded the late-night flight with a 1-year-old child and a 2-year-old child. The couple booked their 18-year-old son on an earlier flight so that their 2-year-old son, Grayson, could be placed in his car seat in that paid seat, according to KABC.

However, the ticket still bore the name of their teenage son, Mason. Delta forbids name changes on tickets, and it’s unclear if the Schears informed Delta about the situation before boarding. When the flight attendant told the Schears that they would have to give up that seat, because Mason was a no-show, a lengthy verbal dispute ensued. Brian Schear remained adamant that he paid for the seat, regardless of who it was for. 

>> Read more trending news 

The flight attendant told the Schears that if they did not abide by Delta's decision, it was a federal offense and that they could go to jail and their kids could be put in foster care.

Airport police can be seen standing by the Schears during the incident, which was captured on video.

>>Watch the video of the full encounter (warning: some profanity)

After further discussion with the flight crew, the flight attendant said that Grayson cannot be in a car seat at all during the flight, but must be held in a parent's arms the entire time, per FAA rules. However, this appears to contradict the FAA guidelines and Delta's own policy, which encourages parents to "purchase a seat on the aircraft and use an approved child safety seat." 

Brian Schear told the flight attendant that Grayson had been in his car seat for the flight to Maui, which was also on Delta, and there had been no issue. He also asked the flight attendant why wasn't his family stopped at the gate, since they had two car seats and two children with them when they boarded.

The flight attendant told the Schears that the plane would not take off until they gave up the seat. After Brian Schear offered to hold Grayson on his lap for the entire flight, a crew member told the family that they were all being removed from the flight or the entire aircraft would be deplaned. 

When Brian Schear asked what he's supposed to do with two young children at midnight, with no hotel booked and no more flights until morning, the flight attendant told him, "At this point, you guys are on your own."

The Schears left the flight, secured a hotel and paid for airfare home on United, which cost $2,000, according to KABC. He said that four standby passengers were placed in their seats as they left the flight, but in a statement from Delta to KABC, the airline claimed the flight was not overbooked. The airline said it was "sorry for what this family experienced" and told Reuters that it had contacted the Schears to refund the family’s travel expenses and provide additional compensation.

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