DALLAS (AP) — At least five people were killed and dozens injured Thursday in a massive crash involving 75 to 100 vehicles on an icy Texas interstate, police said, as a winter storm dropped freezing rain, sleet and snow on parts of the U.S.
At the scene of the crash on Interstate 35 near Fort Worth, a tangle of semitrailers, cars and trucks had crashed into each other and had turned every which way, with some vehicles on top of others.
“The vehicles are just mangled,” said Matt Zavadsky, spokesman for MedStar, which provides the ambulance service for the area. “Multiple tow trucks are on scene. It’s going to take a lot to disentangle this wreck.”
Thirty-six people were taken to hospitals from the crash, several with critical injuries, Zavadsky said.
Police set up a reunification center for family members at a community center.
“The roadway was so treacherous from the ice that several of the first responders were falling on the scene,” Zavadsky said.
He said his crews carry a sand and salt mixture in the ambulances, which they began using at the scene. At one point, he said, one of the ambulances was hit, but it sustained only minor damage and the crew members were fine.
Farther south, in Austin, more than two dozen vehicles were involved in a pileup on an icy road, and one person was injured, emergency officials said.
Elsewhere, ice storm warnings were in effect from Arkansas to Kentucky, while another winter storm was predicted to bring snow to Mid-Atlantic states, the National Weather Service said.
More than 125,000 homes and businesses were without electricity Thursday morning, largely in Kentucky and West Virginia, according to the website poweroutage.us, which tracks utility reports.
Meanwhile, officials in central Kentucky were urging people to stay home due to icy conditions.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said state offices would be closed due to the weather. He declared a state of emergency, which he said would free up funding and help agencies coordinate as they respond to reports of slick roads and downed power lines.
Crews were responding to numerous calls of downed icy tree limbs and power lines, Lexington police said in a tweet that urged people not to travel “unless absolutely necessary.”