6 Dead, Dozens Injured After Pileup Of Over 130 Vehicles On I-35W In Fort Worth – CBS Dallas / Fort Worth
TO UPDATE: 6 victims in fatal Fort Worth pileup with more than 130 vehicles identified
FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A pile of more than 130 vehicles along Interstate-35W in Fort Worth closed the freeway on Thursday, leaving several people trapped in their vehicles.
During an update on Thursday afternoon, Fort Worth officials confirmed that at least six people who were not publicly identified were killed in the crash.
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Officials said at least 36 people were transported to hospitals and that a total of 65 people sought medical help after the crash.
The buildup, which officials said it involved 133 vehicles, occurred around 6:30 a.m. after freezing rain and sleet fell overnight and in the morning and the roads in north Texas were wet and slippery.
North Tarrant Express, which covers the area of the crash, told CBS 11 News that they pre-treated the road Tuesday.
All interstate lanes – starting near 28th Street Bridge, not far from downtown – were closed due to the accident, which police said was weather related.
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Pictures and videos from on-site CBS 11 News crews show dozens of vehicles and dozens of 18-wheelers – some hauling cars and trucks – that have been smashed, overturned, and piled on top of each other.
First responders called the crash a “mass accident”. Rescue workers had difficulty reaching some of the victims due to the buildup and the blocked roadway.
“First responders actually struggled to get to the vehicles,” said Mike Drivdahl, a Fort Worth Fire spokesman, early that morning. “When they made their way to the autobahn to get to these vehicles, it’s very slippery. We had to get quite a bit of sand out here … we did everything to get as much traction as possible. “
Several ambulances were sent to the scene. Officials with MedStar Mobile Healthcare confirmed that 14 ambulances were used to transport the 36 people to local hospitals. The seriously injured were taken to trauma centers.
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During the afternoon update, MedStar’s Matt Zavadsky said all patients were adults, possibly due to the time of day.
“All of the victims we investigated on the spot were adults. One of the lucky things was the time of day, people usually commute to work, and thankfully for all of the people assessed, treated and transported there were no pediatric patients at all, ”said Zavadsky.
According to police, four officers – three on their way to work and one in the incident – were injured in the pileup. According to Chief Neil Noakes, they were treated and released.
The police advise all those involved in an accident who have only minor damage to their vehicle and are not injured to exchange information and to drive safely from the motorway. These individuals should notify their insurance companies as soon as they arrive at their destination.
For anyone trying to find a friend or loved one, the police have set up a family reunification center where people can meet and possibly pick up drivers and passengers involved in the buildup. Those attempting to get to the crash site should contact the Riverside Community Center at 3700 East Belknap.
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Police say it will take hours and hours to clear the scene. “It will take a long time. We have to separate many of these vehicles with tow vehicles. “
One of the drivers of an articulated lorry, Michael Howard, told CBS 11 News that he saw accidents ahead but couldn’t stop in time.
“You don’t see the ice cream until you feel it … you can’t stop so I’m drawn into that wall … then the people behind me are just bam, bam, bam, bam,” said Howard.
Howard said he was steered against the wall to reduce the impact and anyone who crashed around him walked away.
He added that the road was clear when he was driving from Denton. “Suddenly there is ice and they all ruin.”
Anyone who may have a video of the crash is asked to call the police on 817.392.4222 so they can conduct a further investigation.
“My heart is broken for this community as we deal with the tragic loss of so many lives and injuries in a scene like we have never seen before,” said Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. “So many people have lost loved ones or been hurt and this pain is just amazing, this whole community is going to feel this pain.”
North Tarrant Express released a full statement on the pileup:
We join the wider community in our thoughts for accident victims, their families, and those who are recovering. The maintenance teams from NTE & NTE35W started pre-treating the corridors on Tuesday morning in anticipation of the bad weather and have continuously monitored the roadway. We’ll keep treating the freeways over the weekend and into next week while the storm is active. Our crews handle the entire corridor, managed lanes, multi-purpose lanes, front roads and ramps, and work on the same procedure as the Texas Department of Transportation. In addition, our message boards throughout the corridor made drivers aware of the adverse weather conditions and asked them to drive with caution. The crews are currently helping rescue workers to manage the scene of the accident and to clean up in order to safely reopen the corridor.
The agency of the Texas Department of Transportation as a whole also issued a statement:
Our thoughts go with the families of those involved in fatal accidents across the state in this tragic winter weather event. TxDOT is committed to the safety of drivers. For all winter weather events, TxDOT takes proactive, predictive measures such as pre-treating its roads to prevent ice from sticking to the road.
Conditions on the roads can change quickly and unfortunately, despite proactive measures, the unpredictable and rapidly changing Texas storm can still cause some ice to build up.
As has been the case since the beginning of this week, TxDOT will continue to inform drivers about weather and road conditions. encourage them to travel only when necessary; and drive to the conditions on the road.