NTSB Report Sheds New Light on Deadly I-35 W Pile-up in Fort Worth, Texas
More than two months after a massive pileup killed six people and injured dozens of others along I-35 West in Fort Worth, Texas, a new report from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) sheds new light on the circumstances surrounding the crash.
I-35 Fort Worth Crash Involved Around 130 Vehicles, Including 18-Wheelers
The February 11th accident occurred shortly before 6:30 a.m., as a massive winter storm was bearing down on the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Around 130 vehicles – including a FedEx truck and more than a dozen 18-wheelers – were caught up in the collision.
Although the crash’s probable cause is yet to be identified, a video of the accident showed the FedEx 18-wheeler losing control on a downhill slope. The semi-truck hit a barrier before slamming into multiple other vehicles, crushing one and flipping two. Other vehicles then began crashing into the FedEx truck and each other.
NTSB Confirms Icy Conditions on I-35 West Before Pile-Up
According to the NTSB, the I-35 Fort Worth accident scene spanned 1,100 feet across the North Tarrant Expressway.
The Dallas-Fort Worth area had experienced 36 straight hours of below-freezing temperatures in the days leading to the pile-up. About four hours before the crash, the weather station at Fort Worth Meacham International Airport reported light freezing rain and freezing mist.
North Tarrant Express Mobility Partners Segments 3 (NTEMP S3), the entity responsible for maintaining that section of interstate, pretreated two southbound toll lanes with an ice slicer brine solution around 10:15 a.m. on February 9th.
The NTSB report also notes that signs managed by NTEMP S3 began displaying the message “Icy conditions exist / Please use caution” at about 3:40 a.m. on the day of the crash. That message was apparently triggered by an accident at 3:08 a.m. about 5 miles north of the pile-up.
I-35W Crash Left 6 Dead, 36 Injured
Two of the six people killed in the crash were pedestrians who exited their vehicles and were struck on the road. The other fatally injured people had remained inside their vehicles.
Thirty-six vehicle occupants were transported to area hospitals for treatment of their injuries.
According to the report, the NTSB is conducting a focused investigation to examine the road treatment strategies used to address the freezing conditions. NTEMP S3, the Texas Department of Transportation, the Fort Worth Police Department, the Fort Worth Fire Department, and the Metropolitan Area EMS Authority are supporting the NTSB in the investigation.
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