Death Toll Climbs to 6 After FedEx Truck, 132 Other Vehicles Crash on I-35W in Fort Worth, Texas
A sixth person has died following yesterday morning’s horrific multi-vehicle pileup along Interstate 35 West in Fort Worth, Texas.
According to media reports, the deadly chain-reaction crash involved at least 133 vehicles, including a FedEx truck and more than a dozen other 18-wheelers.
FedEx 18-Wheeler Lost Control on Downhill Slope
The February 11th accident occurred around 6:30 a.m., as a massive winter storm brought frigid temperatures and treacherous roads to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex on Thursday morning. That particular stretch of I-35W was coated in a thin sheet of ice left from freezing rain that had been falling since the previous evening.
While it’s not clear exactly how the pileup began, a video shows the FedEx 18-wheeler losing control on a downhill slope. The semi-truck hit a barrier before plowing into multiple other vehicles, crushing one and flipping two. Other cars, pickup trucks, and 18-wheelers then began crashing into the FedEx truck and each other.
“So, there was no lights. You couldn’t see anything,” one crash survivor told ABC-8, describing his own near-miss with the FedEx 18-wheeler. “Honestly, [I was] just waiting for it to whack me too. And it never did.”
“Everything probably happened in 10 seconds, 15 seconds. But it felt like an eternity.”
Fort Worth Authorities Declare I-35 Crash a “Mass Casualty Event”
The crash site stretched for 1 ½ miles, with some cars wedged beneath 18-wheelers and pickup trucks. The pileup was declared a “mass casualty event” shortly after fire and rescue crews arrived on the scene.
“First responders actually had difficulty getting to the vehicles,” a Fort Worth Fire spokesperson said while briefing media on Thursday morning. “As they were making their way on the freeway to get to those vehicles, it is very slippery. We did have to get quite a bit of sand out here… we did everything we could to get as much traction as possible.”
The crash closed all northbound lanes of I-35W, including toll lanes, with traffic backed up in both directions from Interstate 30 to Interstate 820. Most people were able to get out of their vehicles by 10:30 a.m., but some remained trapped even longer.
36 People Taken to Local Hospitals and Trauma Centers
Authorities have yet to identify those killed in the accident but have confirmed that all six victims were adults.
MedStar Mobile Healthcare confirmed that 14 ambulances were used to transport 36 people to area hospitals, with the most seriously injured taken to trauma centers. A total of 65 people sought medical treatment after the crash. Four police officers — three on their way to work and one dispatched to the crash — were among the injured, but all have since been treated and released.
Many of those caught up in the accident were healthcare workers heading to their jobs.
“Typically shift change for the hospitals and places downtown [is] going to be 7 o’clock,” a MedStar spokesperson told the Dallas Morning News. “So we did see a lot of people that were health care workers that were a part of this crash.”
Multiple Accidents Reported Across Texas
The winter storm caused a series of accidents across Texas on Wednesday night and into Thursday morning, but the Fort Worth pileup was by far the worst.
Another person died in a crash in Dallas, and two others were killed in other incidents over Wednesday night and Thursday morning. A single accident in Austin involved 26 vehicles, while police in Arlington were dealing with 23 crashes.
Multiple accidents were also reported in Garland and Irving.
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