I-71 Reopens After 50-Vehicle Crash


UPDATED: Tuesday February 16, 2010 11:05 AM

Interstate 71 southbound reopened in Delaware County Monday night, but the Ohio Department of Transportation said it would be reduced to one lane at least through Tuesday.

About 23 miles of I-71 south were closed between state Route 61 near Mount Gilead and U.S. Route 36/state Route 37 for more than seven hours, 10TV's Kevin Landers reported.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol said at least 50 vehicles were involved in the crash, including several tractor-trailers. They were continuing to investigate.

SLIDESHOW: Images From Scene

Truck driver Tom Sloan said cars were going everywhere, Landers reported.

"Just a chain reaction," Sloan said. "My truck is sitting over there I avoided everybody but got hit by that semi and two cars."

He said snow covered roads made traction on the interstate nearly impossible.

"I've driven semis for nine years and that's the first wreck I've been in," Sloan said.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol continues to investigate these crashes, which are estimated to involve more than 50 vehicles. ODOT said one of the rigs involved was loaded with steel, which complicated its removal from the interstate.

Motorists were advised to use caution in this area because some of the vehicles involved in the crash will remain in the roadway overnight.

Natessia Summerfield was traveling from Mount Vernon and got stuck in the pile up.

"We've been in the car for four and half hours," Summerfield said. "We were headed to Dublin but never made it."

Crews were expected to come back during daylight hours to remove the vehicles, Landers reported.
 
Minor injuries were reported, with one person transported to a hospital.
 
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February 15, 2010: 23-Mile Stretch Of I-71 Reopens North Of Columbus