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131-Car Pile-up Leaves One Person Dead, Many Injured

A massive pile-up on Interstate 41 involved 131 vehicles. The huge accident occurred near Neenah, Wisconsin in Winnebago County. According to the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office, the chain-reaction accident likely happened due to blowing snow and white-out conditions. The accident resulted in one fatality and 71 people taken to local hospitals. It took police two hours to stabilize the scene. About 500 vehicles were stuck behind the crash scene until they could be rerouted.

The incident closed that portion of Interstate 41 until 3 AM the following day. There were a total of 772 calls to 911 that were related to weather in a period of about seven hours. They released many of the 911 calls from drivers involved in the huge pile-up, in which drivers can be heard screaming while crash noises erupt in the background.

Weather-Related Crashes

Luckily, massive chain reaction crashes do not happen very often. When they do, the weather may play a major factor. In this crash, the visibility was very low due to blowing snow. Drivers could not see far ahead of them and as a result, they did not see the accident until they crashed into it. By the time they saw the crash, it was too late to stop.

Snow and ice are common causes of weather-related crashes. Other times, large pile-ups are due to fog or heavy rain or any conditions where visibility is significantly hampered. Determining fault in these types of crashes is extremely difficult because there are so many vehicles involved and many factors at play.

It is a common misconception that the car that caused the first crash is at fault for the entire accident. In fact, investigators need to review each impact to find out the cause. For some, the problem is driving too fast for conditions. You do not need to be going faster than the speed limit to be going too fast. You should only drive at a speed at which you can safely see ahead of you and have an adequate stopping distance between you and the vehicle in front.

What to do in a Chain Reaction Crash

Chain reaction crashes are unique because there are so many vehicles involved. While you may want to exit your vehicle, as many drivers did in this crash, it is best to remain in your car. Pile-ups can be terrifying, so try to remain calm, leave your seat belt on, and call 911. Do not exit your vehicle until it is safe to do so. There could still be vehicles coming from behind. Provide the police with as many details as you can about where you are located so they can find you. Go to the hospital to get medical treatment immediately. Once the accident is over, you should contact a personal injury attorney to assist you in getting the compensation you deserve. Accidents such as these are complex, and it can take some time to determine fault in each particular instance.

If you were hurt in a vehicle accident, contact Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. to discuss your injuries today.

Published March 12, 2019
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