Whiteout conditions trigger massive pileup in Wisconsin

Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 8:34 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 22, 2021 at 10:03 PM EDT
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Milwaukee, Wi. (WTMJ) - Authorities are still clearing the wreckage from three massive pileups in Washington County, Wisconsin on Wednesday. Heavy bursts of snow contributed to the near white-out conditions that took drivers by surprise.

“All of a sudden there was just a white out and all you saw was brake lights and smashing cars. The semi went down into the ditch and broke in half. Something hit me in the back and spun me around and out of my back window I saw the county truck full of salt start to roll over. And I thought he was going to roll right over me but it stopped,” said driver Mary Polacyzk.

Mary Polacyzk is just one of the dozens of drivers that was caught up in Wednesday’s chain reaction crash on Interstate 41 northbound in Slinger, caught on camera by another driver.

“All you could hear was smashing and I couldn’t get out of my car. I jumped into the passenger side and tried,” said Polacyzk.

Mary was involved in one of three pile-ups on the same highway within just minute of each other, two going northbound about a mile between them. The other 10 miles or so was up the road in the southbound lanes.

“It started snowing and just like that it started snowing really hard,” said driver Connie Knoll.

Knoll said conditions deteriorated quickly. She and her family were also caught up in the wreck.

“They were all just crashing, no one was slowing down,” said Knoll.

She took her two grandchildren out of their car seats and ran for safety in a nearby ditch away from the highway while her husband and daughter, both EMT’s, helped first responders.

“There were horns beeping. You could hear people crying and screaming,” Knoll also said.

The sheriff’s office said 48 cars were involved in just the wreck Mary and Connie were in and six people were taken to the hsopital.

Others were brought to Slinger High School to be triaged and released.

Mary Polaczyk, a lifelong Wisconsin resident said today’s conditions took her by surprise.

“Especially when it was just 70 a week or two ago, to have these blizzard conditions, so yes,” said Polaczyk.

One person was killed in the wrecks and dozens of vehicles were damaged.

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