If you’re ever in a chain-reaction, multiple-vehicle crash like the ones that occurred Monday on area interstate highways, the Ohio Highway Patrol advises that you remain in your vehicle.
“Stay in your vehicle…. You’re safer inside than outside,” Sgt. Scott Bierer, with the patrol post in Lebanon, said Tuesday afternoon. And if you’re driving in a heavy snowfall, he said, “try not to change lanes.”
In the aftermath of such an accident, pull off the roadway if your vehicle has sustained minor damage, Bierer said.
The 52-vehicle pileup on southbound Interstate 75 that occurred late Monday morning near the Ohio 122 exit in Middletown was blamed on a snow squall that created “white-out” conditions and slick roads.
By the time the incident was said and done, wreckage from passenger vehicles and at least two semitrailers was strewn across the roadway, backing up traffic for miles and several hours. At least nine people suffered non life-threatening injuries. They were treated at Atrium Medical Center and released.
“We saw a number of injuries, mostly lacerations, bruising. I think maybe the most severe thing we saw was a shoulder injury,” said Wendy Parks, medical center spokeswoman.
The sergeant noted as well that the concrete median wall, erected on that stretch of interstate less than five years ago, and the wide berms along both sides of the southbound lanes helped to contain the pileup.
Drivers involved in the pileup can call the patrol to find out where their vehicle has been towed.
Bierer said they should call the Lebanon post, (513) 932-4444, and be ready to give OSP the license tag number of the vehicle. The patrol, which maintains a list of tow services it contracts with, then will be able to help drivers locate their vehicle.
Similar snow squall conditions that occurred about the same time as the I-75 pileup were blamed for an 86-vehicle pileup farther south on I-275 near the Colerain Avenue exit in northern Hamilton County.
Sammy Reagan, a 12-year-old student in the Kings Local School District, got out of a vehicle and was killed when hit in the head by a cable guardrail that snapped.
Why the child got out of the vehicle has not been made clear.
The Butler County Coroner’s Office determined that her death was caused by trauma to her head.
As many as 150 vehicles were involved in the two pileups, according to officials.