I-94 clears following pile-up caused by icy roads

HIXTON, Wis. (WKBT/WISC) — Traffic began to move normally on Interstate 94 in western Wisconsin Thursday night, more than 12 hours after a massive pile-up caused by ice-slickened roads snarled traffic for holiday travelers.

The Wisconsin State Patrol said that as of 8:30 p.m., the right lanes of both eastbound and westbound Interstate 94 were open for traffic after being shut down Thursday morning. Drivers were urged to take detours to avoid the area.

Initial reports suggested 100 or more vehicles may have been involved, but the state patrol later said between 40 and 50 vehicles were involved.

Although initial Wisconsin State Patrol reports said nobody was injured in multi-vehicle crashes on ice-slickened Interstate 94 in Jackson County early Thursday, a doctor said later that 12 to 15 people had been taken to Mayo Clinic Health System facilities in Osseo and Black River Falls.

The victims were suffering from trauma, scrapes and broken bones, according to the physician, who said about 20 ambulances were on the scene of the crashes.

A later report from state patrol said the victims’ injuries were all deemed non-life-threatening and that no one died in the crashes.

The patrol blamed freezing rain for icy conditions shortly before 6 a.m. along the I-94 corridor from Menomonie to Black River Falls.

Emergency services responded to multiple crashes, run-offs and jackknifed semi units in Jackson County near Hixton. Earlier reports had indicated the smash-ups were in Trempealeau County.

Several emergency agencies responded to a multiple-vehicle crash about 5:45 a.m. and found a semi unit ablaze in the median on fire with two passenger vehicles underneath. Several secondary crashes and run-offs occurred in the general vicinity.

Drivers and passengers in the crashed vehicles were bused to an alternate safe location.