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21-vehicle pileup sends 6 to hospitals

Crashes on I-75 northbound in Wood Co. cause back-ups

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    Cars remain at a standstill as crews work to untangle a pileup Friday on northbound I-75 north of State Rt. 582 in Wood County. Several injuries were reported. Twenty-one vehicles were involved, and six people were sent to area hospitals. A mixture of sleet and snow made driving dicey throughout the area.

    The Blade/Katie Rausch
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    Crews work to untangle a 21-vehicle pileup on northbound I-75 north of State Rt. 582 in Wood County. Three people were hurt seriously and three suffered minor injuries Friday.

    THE BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH
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DUNBRIDGE, Ohio — St. Patrick’s Day snow showers made for dicey driving conditions for much of Friday, causing long back-ups and many crashes across the region, including a late-morning 21-vehicle pileup on I-75 that sent six people to area hospitals.

Six commercial vehicles and 15 passenger cars piled up on northbound I-75 north of State Rt. 582 just before noon during heavy snowfall. Three people were hurt seriously and three others suffered minor injuries, according to a statement from the Ohio Highway Patrol’s nearby Bowling Green post.

n7crash-9

Crews work to untangle a 21-vehicle pileup on northbound I-75 north of State Rt. 582 in Wood County. Three people were hurt seriously and three suffered minor injuries Friday.

THE BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH
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Emergency crews transported the victims to hospitals, including Mercy Health St. Vincent Medical Center; the University of Toledo Medical Center, formerly the Medical College of Ohio Hospital, and St. Luke’s Hospital.

One woman who was extricated from her vehicle was injured when her car rammed the rear of a tractor-trailer, initial reports indicated. Her car, part of which was lodged beneath the semi, was then struck from behind. Troopers spent about 25 minutes removing her from her vehicle.

Another man was transported for treatment after he was seen wandering around the scene. 

Rescue crews said his car had been rear-ended by a tractor-trailer.

PHOTO GALLERY: I-75 Northbound accident

An excavator also broke free from a tractor-trailer during the crash and came to rest in the road. “There were numerous secondary crashes that occurred as a result of this incident,” the patrol said.

The freeway’s northbound lanes were closed after the pileup until about 3:25 p.m., and the other crashes were cleared by about 4:30 p.m. Investigators continued to piece together what happened afterward.

“It is unknown what caused this chain reaction of events,” the patrol said.

The slippery roads and patches of heavy snow prompted several area counties to declare Level One snow emergencies — essentially travel advisories — Friday evening, including Lucas, Wood, and Sandusky.

A tractor-trailer rig jackknifed on northbound I-75 near Erie Street at about 5:30 p.m., and a multivehicle crash blocked two of three lanes on southbound I-75 at Wales Road in Northwood about an hour later.

The highway patrol canceled a sobriety checkpoint in Bowling Green planned for Friday evening because of the weather, though two Lucas County checkpoints remained in place.

Brian Mitchell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Cleveland, said much of Friday’s wintry precipitation came to an end about 8 p.m. The Toledo area logged at least 2 inches of snowfall, he said.

He predicted there may be a scattered mix of snow and rain this morning and another chance this evening, but otherwise the weekend should be calm compared to the St. Patrick’s Day snow.

“It should get well above freezing, probably close to 40 on Saturday, but with the chance of some rain and snow showers,” Mr. Mitchell said. “Sunday I guess is looking a lot better, just partly cloudy and a high in the mid-40s.”

Next week is expected to warm into the lower 50s on Monday, but rain moving in midweek will bring the temperatures back into the high 30s and low 40s, Mr. Mitchell predicted. By Friday he expects a glimpse of spring, with temperatures climbing into the upper 50s.

“We’re kind of going to be up and down, but we’re not getting a bad cold spell again [next week],” he said.

Contact Sarah Elms at: selms@theblade.com or 419-724-6103 or on Twitter @BySarahElms.

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