UPDATE 3:30 p.m. Thursday.  All lanes have reopened..

KENNA, W.Va. — Two people in a passenger car were killed after the vehicle collided with a state Division of Highways mower Thursday morning on Interstate 77 in Jackson County, the DOH said.

The crash happened just north of the Kenna exit in the northbound lanes at around 10 a.m. The car burst into flames after the collision. Two bodies were found inside.

The DOH worker was injured and rushed to CAMC General. DOH Communications Specialist Carrie Jones said the worker was alert but suffered lacerations and a serious head injury.

“We believe it was most likely the seat belt that kept him from being thrown out or more seriously injured,” she said.

The worker was operating a long-arm mower on the shoulder of the highway. The arm reaches over the guardrail to cut grass and brush. There was a DOH truck behind the mower serving as a pilot vehicle, Jones said.

“The passenger vehicle involved in this accident almost clipped their (pilot vehicle) side view mirror before crashing into the mower. That (pilot) driver actually witnessed it and saw it crash into our mower and then the passenger vehicle caught fire,” Jones said.

The names of those involved were not immediately released.

Both northbound lanes are expected to be closed for several hours. Traffic is being detoured off the Kenna exit.

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