Police: Ice patch to blame for massive pileup on Interstate 64
UPDATE (Jan. 10):
An SUV hit a patch of ice on westbound Interstate 64 in Virginia, triggering a 75-car pileup last month, investigators said.
Virginia State Police said in a news release that the driver of a 2008 Chevrolet SUV spun out and was hit by other vehicles at the start of the pile-up shortly before 8 a.m. on Dec. 22, The Virginian-Pilot reported on Friday.
The crash occurred at the Queens Creek Bridge in Upper York County and shut down the interstate for over seven hours. Officials said 51 people in were injured.
State police initially reported 30 vehicles were involved in the crash before announcing the total of 75 on Friday.
An eight-vehicle crash happened on the eastbound side of I-64 near mile marker 240, Virginia State Police spokeswoman Sgt. Michelle Anaya said on Dec. 22.
Ryan Rogers, a National Weather Service meteorologist at Wakefield, said visibility was poor around the time of the crash. At the nearest weather station in Williamsburg, fog had reduced visibility to less than a quarter-mile 20 minutes before the crash.
Rogers said it was possible freezing fog — supercooled water droplets that can freeze instantly — had impacted the bridge.
No charges have been filed, and police said the investigation continues.
Multiple people remain hospitalized for treatment and police continue to investigate after a massive pileup that shut down Interstate 64 in York County, Virginia, on Sunday.
Around 7:50 a.m. Sunday morning, a chain-reaction crash involving 69 vehicles in the westbound lanes of I-64 at the Queens Creek Bridge, near Camp Peary, closed all lanes.
The westbound lanes reopened late in the afternoon after crews worked for hours to transport patients to hospitals and clear damaged vehicles.
Officials say there was ice on the bridge and heavy fog in the area at the time of the crash, but it will be days worth of investigation before police can determine the initial cause of the crash.
Virginia State Police spokeswoman Sgt. Michelle Anaya said dozens of people were sent to the hospital. Two had life-threatening injuries, while eleven had serious but non-life threatening injuries. State police added that the majority of people hurt only suffered minor injuries.
A VCU Health rep confirmed to NBC12 that at least two people were treated at their medical center.
Peter Glagola, a spokesman for Riverside Health System, said 25 people injured in the crash were treated at Riverside Regional Medical Center in Newport News. Their injuries were as follows:
• 1 Serious
• 5 Moderate
• 19 Minor
Another 21 people went to Regional Doctors’ Hospital Williamsburg, according to Glagola. These were the extent of their injuries:
• 6 Moderate
• 15 Minor
Sentara Healthcare reported they treated another two patients from the crash at Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center for minor injuries.
The Virginia Department of Transportation tweeted that all westbound lanes were closed as the accident was being cleaned up. Traffic was rerouted onto Route 199 in the interim.
511 Virginia also reported one eastbound lane being closed near mile marker 240 due to a separate multi-vehicle accident.
State Police say that the crash occurred on a section of the bridge that was under construction, and a VDOT spokesperson added that the pileup did not damage the infrastructure of the road.
“The numbers are changing because this was a large incident. 64 Westbound and Eastbound were shut down for quite some time. Eastbound opened up around 11:00, and westbound lanes had recently opened around 3:15 p.m.," said Sgt. Anaya.
Governor Ralph Northam also tweeted about the multiple collisions on Sunday, saying that his thoughts are with everyone involved in the crash, before extending his gratitude for the emergency crews, first responders, medical staff, and law enforcement personnel.
Virginia State Police say that there were no confirmed fatalities related to the crashes.