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Interstate 79 & 80 Pileups Cause Scary Moments For Drivers

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(Photo Courtesy: Kara Spagnola)

(Photo Courtesy: Kara Spagnola)

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The winter weather created some hazardous driving conditions Saturday along roadways north of Pittsburgh.

Emergency crews responded to two multi-vehicle crashes Saturday afternoon, one on Interstate 79 in Mercer County and the other on Interstate 80 in Venango County.

According to state police, the pileup on I-79 happened around noon on the southbound side of the roadway at mile marker 133 near the Greenville-Sandy Lake exit in Deer Creek Township.

State police say approximately 30 passenger vehicles and two commercial vehicles were involved in the accident.

It shut down the road in both directions for more than 10 miles in each direction. The interstate was closed for more than three hours, but has since completely reopened.

Some people were injured, but there were no fatalities.

State police say about 15 wreckers and a school bus were called in to help clear the scene and transport the motorists involved in the crash.

Also, authorities say multiple EMS and state police units as well as the Red Cross and PennDOT responded to the scene.

One man trying to get to Florida from his home in Rochester, N. Y., got involved in the pileup.

“I was going 30 miles per hour, if that, and you just can’t stop,” said Tom Marchand. “It was a terrible whiteout condition that came up right away, and there’s nothing anybody could do.”

Meanwhile, emergency crews were also called to I-80 in Venango County for another multi-vehicle crash around 3 p.m. Saturday.

According to officials with Venango County 911, three people were killed and up to 100 people were injured in the crash that involved more than 50 vehicles, many of them tractor trailer trucks.

One woman driving in the area at the time said there were whiteout conditions there, too. She was just a few cars behind the wreckage.

“The snow was just blowing sideways. The visibility was just cut down drastically, probably 50 feet maybe, at times even less,” said Kara Spagnola, of Zelienople. “They were just smashed together. You couldn’t see where one truck began and the other one ended. We couldn’t see any cars at all but from what some witnesses had said that they had seen some cars smashed up in between the tractor trailers.”

Around 11 p.m. Saturday, I-80 eastbound had been reopened, but the westbound side remained closed from exits 28 to 42.

Officials said they expected the westbound side to remain closed into the overnight hours. So, they have set up a warming shelter at the Clintonville Volunteer Fire Department for those traveling through the area.

RELATED LINKS
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