Nevada Highway Patrol says two pickup trucks hauling cattle trailers were heading east on Highway 50 near Dayton just after 8:45am Tuesday when the front truck trailer started swerving.
That truck swerved into oncoming traffic and hit a truck traveling west head on. Both trucks caught fire.
"We learned that one of the victims had crawled out of the vehicle, while still on fire, and perished," NHP Trooper Chuck Allen said. "So, it's a very, very, very serious scene. Very emotional."
Troopers say the driver of the front eastbound truck died, while a passenger was Careflighted to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno. Three people inside the westbound truck were killed.
In all four people died.
"An accident can happen anytime, anywhere, or often without warning," Allen said. "But a lot of the time, it's just focusing on your driving, knowing the limitations of that vehicle, and just focusing on being safe, all the time."
After the initial accident the second eastbound truck then smashed into the first truck's crashed trailer.
Two people inside that truck were transported by ambulance.
This already difficult scene was especially hard for one of the first responders, who knew one of the victims.
"Whenever you lose someone from your department, or one of the troopers or supervisors on the scene realizes that it's a close friend involved in a tragedy such as this, that just magnifies the emotions that we deal with internally," Allen said.
One cow was killed and seven others scattered.
"The other eight full-grown cows, in the second horse trailer are all intact, they're alive, and they were not injured," Allen said.
Troopers have not identified any of the victims.
Highway 50 remains closed, but NDOT is rerouting drivers onto area dirt roads.