ST. LOUIS COUNTY ( – A cab driver was injured, and a passenger was killed during an altercation inside of a van Wednesday morning.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol said a Laclede Cab driver and passenger got into a physical altercation, that prompted the driver to stop on Interstate 55 near Lindbergh just before 4 a.m. During the altercation, the driver reportedly pulled out a gun and shot the passenger. The passenger was pronounced dead. The cab driver was taken to the hospital with a gunshot wound and later listed in critical, stable condition.

In addition to the taxicab, News 4 crews on the scene saw a pickup truck and semi-truck on the roadway while it was closed. It is not known if they were involved in the crash that was first reported at the location.

The interstate was closed for about four hours while troopers were on the scene investigation. The deceased's identity has not been released, but officials said both people involved in the incident were men. 

Nathaniel Smiley Jr., a St. Charles County resident and truck driver for 17 years, says he was the first to the scene of the incident.

“I’ve seen bad accidents, but I’ve never up close got out, [because] help was already there,” said Smiley. “Never got out and seen anything this horrible.”

Smiley was on the way to Memphis when he witnessed a crash on I-55.

“It was me and a black pickup truck. The black pickup truck was in the left lane and I was in the right lane coming out 270, merging on,” said Smiley. “And when we both got onto the highway, [there] was a Laclede Cab sitting on the highway, just sitting there."

Smiley says the black pickup truck rear-ended the Laclede Cab, which prompted him to stop, get out and call for help. Then he went over to the cab, and soon realized a shooting had already taken place between the taxicab driver and a passenger inside.

“[The driver] kept saying, ‘Please help me man, I’ve been shot’,” said Smiley. “I’m looking back in the back seat and I realized there’s another person back there slumped over.”

Despite being worried about his own safety and getting out to help on a busy roadway, Smiley worried what could've happened if he did not stop to help.

“It would’ve been more fatalities,” said Smiley. “So, the only thing that’s going through my head is, I saved somebody’s life, like more than one person.”

News 4 reached out to Laclede Cab multiple times today for comment and to speak with the cab driver, but we are still waiting to hear back.

Copyright 2021 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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