Tuesday, December 18, 2012

[californiadisasters] A 'Mile' of Car Crashes: Icy I-5 Causes 60-Car Pile Up

UPDATE: A 'mile' of car crashes: Icy I-5 causes 60-car pile up

Both directions of Interstate 5 are closed in Siskiyou County near Highway 96 tonight after 60 vehicles crashed along an icy stretch, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection is reporting this evening.

"It's about one mile's worth of damaged vehicles on I-5," said Suzi Brady, information officer for the Cal Fire Siskiyou Unit. She said the vehicles suffered varying amounts of damage, though at least 30 had to be towed.

The wreck was initially reported around 6:30 p.m. tonight as a single rollover vehicle.

By the time emergency crews arrived, they found 15 vehicles had crashed, Brady said. She said she didn't know the types of vehicles. However, the California Highway Patrol initially reported around five big rigs and four cars were involved in a pileup about 6:15 p.m.

Southbound I-5 is open to controlled traffic, said Denise Yergenson, spokeswoman for the California Department of Transportation, while northbound lanes are closed at Yreka.

She said the vehicles were instead mostly stranded along the highway, and only around 18 vehicles were involved in the actual pile up.

Brady said she doesn't know how long the lanes will be closed.

The icy condition caused other vehicles to crash, with six people suffering minor to moderate injuries, Brady said.

"We did have one patient transported by helicopter to Oregon," she said.

A bus is ferrying motorists to a shelter set up at the Siskiyou Golden Fairgrounds, said Eric Kiltz, emergency services coordinator with the Red Cross.

"A multi-car accident north of Yreka has left dozens of motorists stranded," he said. "As of 9:30 Tuesday night, 9 persons had arrived on a bus with more expected to arrive throughout the evening."

A dog was also at the rest area.

CHP said a detour is available at the North Yreka exit.

The National Weather Service is reporting temperatures around 26 degrees in the area and issued a high wind warning. Snow is predicted for the rest of the evening and Wednesday.

Check back as we update this breaking news story.

Source: http://www.redding.com/news/2012/dec/18/i-5-closed-siskiyou-county-due-multi-vehicle-pile/

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