Multi-car crash closes Beltline at Hwy. 51

Semi rolls over on SUV, driver OK

Published On: Jan 10 2014 05:16:55 PM CST   Updated On: Jan 11 2014 10:58:03 AM CST
MADISON, Wis. -

A 67-year-old man is recovering at UW hospital after his vehicle slid off the road and under a semi.

The icy conditions snarled traffic on a number of roads, including the Beltline and Stoughton Road intersection. The accident off the westbound Beltline, on Madison's east side, is one of several that kept fire and rescue crews busy Friday night.

Joe Navaro works nearby at Arby's. He got a birds-eye view of vehicles gliding off the roadway.

"I was out salting the sidewalks 'cause it was pretty slippery, and I noticed that the semi had jackknifed and I went back in there and you could see more cars sliding off the sides and stuff. There was about six or seven cars that slid off to the side," Navaro said.

Icy roads created quite a mess of twisted metal. According to the Madison Fire Department, crews were dispatched to the off-ramp at Stoughton road just before 4 p.m.

Officials said a semi went over an S.U.V. News3 cameras were rolling as crews worked to rescue the driver pinned inside.

"It was pretty scary because they didn't block that exit for 30 to 40 minutes, so cars were still coming down the highway at 45 to 50 mph," Navaro said.

George Dreckmann with Madison's Street Department says they tried to get a jump on the weather by starting in the afternoon.

"We've had four salt brine trucks putting down salt brine on the main streets. We don't put salt brine down on all our of our salt route streets, but on all the major streets," Dreckmann said.

He added freezing rain is a challenge for them but several crews are out working to keep the roads open. "This forecast is for a relatively light event, so it's something we feel pretty confident in our ability to keep the main streets open," Dreckmann said. 

Madison Streets Department workers are expected to work through the evening putting down salt and keeping things clear. Thirty crews are expected to join the efforts after midnight.