Icy weather made an Ohio roadway particularly hazardous on Monday, multiple car crashes and injuring many.
A total of 16 tractor trailers and 60 cars collided into each other on Interstate 275 outside of Cincinnati, Ohio. The accident, which occurred around 11:35 a.m., killed a 12-year-old girl and 20 other passengers were taken to nearby hospitals with unreported injuries. Drivers and passengers of the 76 crashed vehicles wandered around the site like the “walking wounded,” a description used by Fire Captain Darian Edwards of Colerain Township. Of the passengers injured, four had to be cut out of their vehicle. A cable guard-rail prevented further catastrophe by keeping west bound traffic out of the east bound lane.
“There was no way anyone could stop. It was a complete white-out,” commented a crash victim.
“For those criticizing people driving in the snow, this was a freak situation. Conditions went from dry and light flurries, to blizzard-like conditions (very low visibility, slick, etc.) in seconds. I had seconds to adjust and slide. We missed the pile up by 10 seconds,” driver Keith Clasgens commented on Facebook.
Though unconfirmed, authorities believe that the deceased 12-year-old girl had exited her vehicle to look at another crashed car, only to be struck by another colliding vehicle, according to Jim Knapp, spokesman of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s office.
This massive collision began as a chain reaction and was one of three accidents in Ohio that day blocking a major roadway on both the east and sest bound sides of the road. The eastbound lane was opened after emergency responders worked the scene for 7 hours following the initial crash. The cars were triaged using a tape system that signified the severity of the passengers’ injuries within it.
“It was just chaos, absolute chaos,” said Lieutenant Tory Smith of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.
On nearby Interstate 75 in southwestern Ohio, an additional 50 cars were set on a collision course and crashed due to an equally icy roadway. Fortunately, no fatalities were reported at this accident site; however, there were an undetermined number of injuries, according to Lieutenant Steve Mahl of the Ohio State Police. The southbound lanes of the highway remained closed for approximately four hours following the accident while emergency first responders cleared the roadway and attempted to determine a cause.
In the northern portion of the state, a third crash occurred involving 13 vehicles. U.S. highway 71 was temporarily blocked while emergency first responders checked for injuries before removing the vehicles from the roadway. Lieutenant Mahl said the injuries sustained by drivers and passengers in the crash were only minor.
While the accidents have been frequent in Ohio, authorities stated that the slippery and iced-over roadways are a common hazard Ohio residents face each year during this time. “It’s typical weather out here,” said Mahl.
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