The Biggest Interstate 35 Crash in History
Interstate 35 through Texas regularly makes the list of the most dangerous highways in the United States.
Yet surprisingly, the biggest Interstate 35 crash in history actually occurred nearly a thousand miles from the Lone Star State, just south of Ames, Iowa.
70 Vehicles Involved in Chain-Reaction I-35 Crash Near Ames, Iowa
As many as 70 vehicles – including passenger cars, semi-trucks, and several buses – were involved in the deadly, chain-reaction collision.
“I barely saw it, it was snowing so hard,” Heath Hove, an 18-year veteran with the Iowa State Patrol, told the De Moines Register shortly after the wreck.
By the end of the day, one person had died and 11 others had been treated for injuries at local hospitals.
“I’ve Never Seen Something Escalate This Fast.”
Hove had been trying to navigate the southbound lanes of Interstate 35 during a blinding snowstorm on February 5, 2018, when a car suddenly spun out of control and hit a cable barrier shortly before 10:30 a.m.
The initial crash precipitated a 70-vehicle pile-up that stretched several miles.
“I’ve never seen something escalate this fast,” Hove continued. “I knew it was out of control and there was nothing I could do to stop it.”
10-to-15 vehicles crashed in front of Hove, while as many as 15 more came up behind him.
Fortunately, Hove was able to brake and safely pull off the highway.
Missouri Bus Driver Died After Slamming into Line of Stopped Cars
Many others were not so fortunate.
Dana Easter, 53, of Independence, Missouri, was tragically killed when the bus he was driving slammed into a line of stopped vehicles.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
11 others were injured, including 5 who were listed in critical condition after the crash.
“The hardest part was physically getting to those that needed medical treatment,” Beth Frandsen, a supervisor with Mary Greeley’s Mobile Intensive Care Services, told the Des Moines Register.
“With the conditions the way they were and the number of cars that were involved, paramedics actually had to park the ambulance away from the scene and then carried supplies from the ambulance to those that had been injured.”
Snow-Covered Interstate 35 Contributed to Massive Pile-up
Weather conditions were largely to blame for the February 5th crash on Interstate 35.
A fast-moving clipper system had brought snow and freezing temperatures to much of the Midwest, with some communities recording as much as an inch of snow per hour.
By noon, most of Iowa’s roads were slick and snow-covered.
“People have to be very cautious when the weather is changing rapidly,” Roger Vachalek, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Des Moines, told the Ames Tribune.
“When the visibility drops, people need to slow down.”
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