Four people were killed in a 46-car pileup on the Ohio turnpike Friday afternoon due to the winter storm that has swept the nation.
The initial crash occurred at around 11:45 a.m. on Interstate 80 eastbound between Route 53 and State Route 4 in Sandusky County near the Eire County line, according to officials via WTVG. At around 12:30 p.m., other vehicles started crashing and forming a major pileup.
Troopers on scene confirm two fatalities, with a minimum of 46 vehicles involved. Multiple agencies from several counties are continuing rescue operations. White-out conditions persist. Travel is not recommended.#OhioTurnpikeMP106Crash pic.twitter.com/PhPcwdrsEv
— OSHP_NWOhio (@OSHP_NWOhio) December 23, 2022
Authorities confirmed that the weather was a factor that caused the pileup. The crash is still under investigation.
“This is a stark reminder of what can happen when you get behind the wheel and try to drive in bad weather conditions,” Ohio State Highway Patrol Sgt. Ryan Purpura said in a Friday night update on the crash. “High winds are still remaining and whiteout conditions are still persistent.”
“We ask that you do not travel unless you absolutely have to. If you do have to travel, we ask that you take precautions. Take it slow, be patient, wear your safety belt and increase your following distance,” Purpura added.
🚨#BREAKING: Mass Casualty Incident’ declared following pileup on Interstate 75 in Ohio
Multiple emergency crews are responding too a very serious accident is occurring on I-75N. With Mass Casualty Incident declared reports of over 100+ vehicles are piled up pic.twitter.com/TgfCm852Si
— R A W S A L E R T S (@rawsalerts) December 23, 2022
As of Saturday, the westbound lane opened later Friday night, while the eastbound lane was not cleared until Saturday at 5:15 p.m., per the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine offered condolences to families of victims involved in the crash and urged caution while traveling this Christmas weekend:
Our sympathy goes to those families who have lost a loved one during this severe weather situation in Ohio. The road conditions continue to be very dangerous across the state, with white outs and extremely cold temperatures continuing. Please continue to remain home if at all possible and be vigilant with these extremely dangerous road conditions.
It is unknown how many were injured from the pileup.
Friday’s crash comes as a winter “bomb cycle” has occurred across the U.S. this Christmas week.
Including those who died in the Ohio turnpike crash, at least 14 people have died in at least half a dozen states due to the severe winter impacting road conditions, Fox Weather reported.
At 11:30 a.m. Eastern on Saturday, over 1.5 million people were without power in the U.S., Breitbart News reported.
You can follow Ethan Letkeman on Twitter at @EthanLetkeman.