Three people were killed and a state trooper was seriously injured Wednesday in a mammoth series of accidents involving more than 50 vehicles just 10 miles apart on the snowy Ohio Turnpike, state Highway Patrol said.
No information was immediately available on the people who were killed
Trooper Andrew B. Clouser, 29, was in serious condition at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo with injuries to his legs and abdomen. Clouser was pinned between two vehicles while responding to a crash that occurred about 1:25 p.m. ET in the eastbound lanes of the turnpike between Toledo and Cleveland, the patrol said.
Forty minutes later, vehicles began piling up after a second accident in the westbound lanes about 10 miles up the turnpike near Sandusky.
About 50 disabled and damaged cars and trucks stretched over 10.2 miles of the turnpike in both directions Wednesday, twisted and toppled like Tinker Toys. The turnpike authority told motorists to avoid the roadway in Erie and Sandusky counties.
By 9 pm. ET, one westbound lane of I-80 had been reopened, said state Highway Patrol spokeswoman Lt. Anne Ralston.
Highway Patrol was beginning to clear parts of the pileup after 9 p.m. ET, but they did not have an estimation of when it would be clear enough to let traffic begin to flow on the eastbound lanes, according to Ralston.
The authority blamed the accidents on the snowy weather, which that State Patrol said severely limited visibility.
A late-winter storm dropped up to 7 inches of snow overnight Tuesday and Wednesday in parts of the Midwest. The storm was moving into the Northeast on Wednesday night.