The Ohio State Highway Patrol said in a statement that it responded to a crash in the eastbound lanes of the Ohio Turnpike in Erie County. Authorities said the crash was a result of “white-out conditions” that left dozens of vehicles, including at least 15 commercial trucks, mangled and piled up on the highway.
State troopers “from multiple posts” responded to the accident, according to a video statement from Sgt. Ryan Purpuru, who said there had been approximately 50 vehicles involved in the incident. Purpuru also said that whiteout conditions were not “making it safe for travel” and urged people to stay off the roads.
Photos posted on social media show several vehicles that were crushed between a median and a trailer, crumpled 18-wheelers, mangled automobiles and trucks, and a black pickup atop the pileup. Traffic was reportedly backed up for miles.
Multiple people were injured in the crash and buses took people from the highway to a local facility so they can stay warm.
A section of the westbound lanes of the turnpike in the area of the accident reopened Friday evening at 11:25 p.m. local time. Eastbound lanes did not reopen until the following day.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine echoed the call for people to stay off the road.
“Our sympathy goes to those families who have lost a loved one during this severe weather situation in Ohio,” he said in a statement. “Please continue to remain home if at all possible and be vigilant with these extremely dangerous road conditions.”
The storm that caused the whiteout conditions in Ohio was part of what the National Weather Service had termed a “once-in-a-lifetime” weather event that left over 200 million people under hazardous weather alerts and watches.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)