One killed in 50-vehicle accident on I-80|
Thursday, February 11, 2010
By Terry Whetstone
One person is dead and nearly two dozen others were transported to Clearfield Hospital and DuBois Regional Medical Center yesterday following a 50-vehicle pileup on Interstate 80 that stretched for two miles.
The first crash was reported at approximately 9 a.m. in the eastbound lanes of I-80 at the 116 mile marker.
Additional vehicles began crashing with the final vehicle making contact at approximately the 118 mile marker.
One person was pronounced dead at the scene, Steven K. Samuelson, 57, of Orangeville, Ill.
Police said Samuelson was the driver of a vehicle that ran into the side of one of the trucks near the 116 mile marker.
According to state police at Clearfield, the crash originated when two tractor-trailers jackknifed at the 118 mile marker, blocking both lanes of travel and forcing trailing vehicles to collide with the two that had jackknifed on the slippery roadway.
Originally 14 trucks and three passenger cars were in that crash, then additional vehicles began crashing behind the original accident, which ended up bringing the total vehicles to 50.
Josh Quigley, Clearfield County Emergency Management director, said there were 30 trucks and 20 passenger cars involved. Yesterday, Quigley said there were "multiple, multiple vehicle crashes."
The interstate was shut down in the eastbound lanes from Penfield to Clearfield and emergency responders accessed the interstate going west in the eastbound lanes.
I-80 was closed in the eastbound direction for at least 12 hours yesterday as the debris was removed from the road.
Patients had to be extricated from their vehicles, and due to the size of the crash and the location of ambulances, some of the patients had to be tended to at the scene then transported via an all-terrain vehicle owned by the county to various ambulance crews.
Dave McClure, deputy EMA director of Clearfield County, said Elk County and Clarion County EMA directors and members of Augusta Fire and Safety assisted at the scene.
"Everything went pretty well," McClure said.
The crash saw at least 10 ambulance services respond to the scene including Clearfield Emergency Medical Services, Rescue Hose and Ladder Ambulance of Curwensville, Moshannon Valley EMS of Philipsburg, Bennetts Valley Ambulance of Penfield, DuBois EMS, AmServ/DuSan EMS of DuBois, Brockway Ambulance, Jefferson County EMS of Brookville, Sykesville Ambulance and Reynoldsville Ambulance.
Several ambulances returned to the scene for additional patients after taking some to the hospital.
At least five fire companies responded, including Lawrence Township Station No. 5, Hyde, Clearfield Borough, Rescue Hose and Ladder Co. of Curwensville and Bigler-Jackson-Woodland Fire Co. of Woodland.
Adrian Fire Co. of Sandy Township, DuBois, was on standby.
The state police, the state Department of Transportation and the American Red Cross were also on scene.
Clearfield Borough and Lawrence Township Fire Police assisted with traffic control throughout Clearfield Borough, as the traffic was detoured through town and back to the interstate.
McClure said approximately 100 rescue personnel were on scene for five hours.
Police did not release the names of the other people injured in the crash.