Seven vehicles -- including a big rig -- were involved in the initial accident. There was a second accident involving two vehicles, which police say resulted from drivers trying to avoid the first wreck.
According to Sugar Land police, the driver of the 18-wheeler couldn't control the speed of the big rig and hit vehicles that were either stopped or slowing down. The rig hit a Lincoln driven by Doris Walters, 66, of Pasadena, causing the chain reaction wreck.
The Lincoln caught fire, say investigators, and then spread to a pickup truck and the big rig.
Walters was killed in the accident. Another person was transported to a hospital with minor injuries. The driver of the 18-wheeler was uninjured.The tanker was empty, officials say.
The freeway was shut down until shortly before midnight so crews could clear the scene; traffic was diverted onto the feeder road, making the commute frustrating for some drivers."Thirty minutes when it usually takes five minutes. But I was stuck in it a long time. It was just stop and go the whole time," driver Shaelynn O'Connor said.
The accident remains under investigation. So far, no citations have been issued.