2 dead, many injured in 18-vehicle pileup during whiteout

AP News
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Posted: Jan 07, 2015 11:14 PM
2 dead, many injured in 18-vehicle pileup during whiteout

CLARION, Pa. (AP) — An 18-vehicle pileup that occurred in whiteout conditions on an interstate on Wednesday killed two people and left dozens injured, authorities said.

Nine trucks, several of them tractor-trailers, and nine cars were involved in the crash, which occurred at 1:40 p.m. in the highway's westbound lanes in Clarion Township, state police said.

"There was very heavy snow at the time with visibility virtually zero," Smith said.

State police said the two people who died were struck after exiting their vehicles.

The pileup occurred about a mile east of the New Bethlehem-Clarion exit. At least one of the trucks was carrying hazardous material, but no leaks were found, Smith said.

Westbound lanes of the interstate were expected to remain closed until late Wednesday, state police said.

None of the injuries was thought to be life-threatening, although three of the approximately 20 people taken to Clarion Hospital were sent on to Pittsburgh hospitals with more serious injuries. The others were being treated for everything from bumps to broken bones, spokeswoman Julie Kunselman said.

The National Weather Service was issuing warnings about lake effect snow squalls in the area Wednesday afternoon. The squalls were drifting southwest from Lake Erie.

Two of the tractor-trailers involved were empty, while one carried brine, one bath products and another food, Smith said. The other vehicles included a UPS double trailer and a flatbed carrying pipes.