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4 killed, multiple people injured in 50-car pileup that closed Ohio Turnpike in both directions near Sandusky

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Posted at 2:49 PM, Dec 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-24 19:33:00-05

SANDUSKY, Ohio — Shocking images circulating on social media show a disastrous pileup of dozens of vehicles on the Ohio Turnpike near Sandusky amid a severe winter storm causing icy roads and low visibility due to snow blowing in blizzard-strength winds.

"It was a whiteout basically," said one driver at the Ohio Turnpike. "That’s what it was."

Four people are confirmed to be dead in the crashes that involved about 50 cars.

"We’re just blessed to be here, honestly," said Robert Clark. "We had seconds to get out of the car."

The couple had been traveling from Detroit, not expecting their day would end like this.

"It’s a lot. It was a lot," said Keijuana Reese.

Jerry N. Hruby, chairman of the Ohio Turnpike Infrastructure Commission, issued a statement following the events on Friday.

Our deepest sympathy goes to those affected by this tragic event, especially the families of those who lost their lives. You are in our prayers.

There are hundreds of unnamed individuals – staff from the Ohio Turnpike, Ohio State Highway Patrol, all local safety agencies, and emergency/medical staff as well as civilian support – who we are so very proud of and appreciate you and recognize your importance during the rescue efforts.

On behalf of the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission, we sincerely appreciate your efforts under the extreme winter storm conditions.

All are to be commended. Please be assured of our continued support and our heartfelt thank you.

Jerry N. Hruby, chairman of the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission

The crashes were first reported by Turnpike officials at about 12:45 p.m., and are now blocking all lanes for over a mile in Erie County at milepost 106.

Ohio State Highway Patrol officials believe that about 50 vehicles were involved in the crashes, which happened on the eastbound lanes of I-80 between State Route 53 and State Route 4 in Groton Township in Erie County. State officials whiteout conditions caused the crashes.

One fatality has been reported and multiple people are injured, OSHP said. Troopers from area posts, turnpike personnel and first responders from multiple agencies have responded and are on scene.

All westbound traffic is being diverted off at Exit-118 (US 250/Sandusky), and all eastbound traffic is being diverted off at Exit-91 (SR 53/Sandusky), Turnpike officials said.

Buses were used to take the stranded motorists to Castalia Maintenance Building, located on the Ohio Turnpike, to stay warm, officials confirmed to News 5.

"I received a phone call from my athletic director, who’s got some family working for the turnpike commission as well, that they had reached out for possible help with school busses," said Clyde Green Springs School Superintendent, Lucas Messer.

Jumping on board to support, and even risking their lives, the district’s Athletic Director Ryan Greenslade and Transportation Director Bob Morris, brought warm food, drinks and bussed people from the turnpike plazas to warmth and shelter.

"This is just kind of what we do," said Messer. "This is pride in our community, in our towns and anything we can do to step up and help, anyone around us really is just kind of the way we do business here."

As of Friday evening around 9 p.m., the turnpike remains closed in both directions between exit 91 and exit 118 as crews continue to clear 15 commercial vehicles.

We're still working to gather more details - this story will be updated as we learn more.

Viewer video from Catherine Martinez Griert:

Turnpike viewer video

Photos of the pileup from Mike Waldron on Twitter below:

OHIO TURNPIKE PILEUP CREDIT MIKE WALDRON TWITTER @MIKEWALDRON115.jpg
Massive pileup on Ohio Turnpike in Sandusky County.
OHIO TURNPIKE 4 PILEUP CREDIT MIKE WALDRON TWITTER @MIKEWALDRON115.jpg
Massive pileup on Ohio Turnpike in Sandusky County.
OHIO TURNPIKE 2 PILEUP CREDIT MIKE WALDRON TWITTER @MIKEWALDRON115.jpg
Massive pileup on Ohio Turnpike in Sandusky County.
OHIO TURNPIKE 5 PILEUP CREDIT MIKE WALDRON TWITTER @MIKEWALDRON115.jpg
Massive pileup on Ohio Turnpike in Sandusky County.

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