GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — At least three people were injured in a large-scale accident on Interstate 80 Wednesday morning that involved nine semi-trucks and two passenger vehicles, The Grand Island Independent reported Thursday.
The vehicles were involved in multiple crashes on I-80 between Giltner and Aurora.
The paper’s report said five vehicles took part in a chain-reaction crash and that because of the pileup, I-80 was closed to eastbound traffic for about three hours while emergency crews worked at the scene and cleared the road.
Weather conditions were a factor in the crashes.
The paper said that at about 9:10 a.m., Hamilton County received a 911 call that two semi-tractor/trailers had crashed and jackknifed, blocking eastbound traffic near mile marker 328. As troopers and officers were en route to the scene, additional vehicles became involved in a chain-reaction crash. The first crash scene involved four semis and one passenger vehicle, a Jeep Cherokee.
After the initial incident, a pair of semis that were traveling together came upon the scene and were unable to stop. One struck the other, pushing it into the Jeep Cherokee.
Both occupants of the Cherokee were transported to the hospital in Aurora, but the passenger, Jason Palmer, 29, of Indiana, was flown to Kearney with life-threatening injuries. The driver was evaluated and has been released from the hospital.
One of the semi drivers, Jeffrey Clark, 56, of Colorado, was also transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The paper reported that as traffic was stopped for the first crash scene, another semi jackknifed while attempting to avoid the stopped traffic. Moments later, another crash occurred a short distance to the west involving two more semis and a minivan. No injuries were reported in those crashes.
In total, there were nine semis and two passenger vehicles involved in the incidents near mile marker 328.
The State Patrol said within 24 hours after the storm began, troopers handled 166 motorist assists, responded to 30 crashes and assisted other agencies with 17 incidents. Motorist assists can include slide-offs, flat tires, etc.
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