WORCESTER (CBS) — Icy conditions are blamed for several crashes along Central Massachusetts highways early Sunday.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports
Starting around 6:45 a.m., more than 70 cars, including three tractor-trailers and six-wheel commercial vehicles, crashed on I-290. Both sides of the highway were closed and more than 30 people were taken to the hospital. At least two people suffered serious injuries.
Frank DePaola of Mass DOT said a tractor-trailer crashed first and caused a chain-reaction crash.
The Worcester Regional Transit Authority was assisting with removal of drivers and passengers from the roadway. No one has been cited.
Heather Baer got on I-290 westbound early Sunday and immediately noticed everyone driving with their hazard lights on. Not far onto the highway, she saw accidents starting to happen.
“I could see an orange tractor-trailer fish tailing, I was on the right side, I hit my brakes and I started to spin,” Baer told WBZ NewsRadio 1030. “I steered into the skid and was able to get off the highway. I was absolutely petrified.”
Baer said it wasn’t until she was on her way home, eastbound, that she realized the scope of the accident.
“The cars were all smooshed,” she said. “Everywhere you looked, there were more cars; cars under the tractor-trailer, front end of an SUV on the eastbound side, cars up on the median.”
Baer considers herself lucky to have avoided such a huge accident.
“I thought that was it,” she said.
State police Sgt. Stephen Marsh said he was amazed the casualties were not more extensive. “I’m extremely surprised that nobody was killed,” Marsh told WBZ-TV. “Especially those cars that went under the trailer trucks, and the vehicles that went under the trailer truck had cars on top of them.”
Brian Conway of New Jersey said he could feel his truck losing control when he hit ice on an overpass. “I was just trying to break whatever speed I could and get rid of it,” Conway said. “I knew I was going to hit somebody, so I tried to minimize it.”
Icy roads were blamed for accidents across the region and into the Merrimack Valley.
The Lowell Connector roadway was closed for approximately 45 minutes after icy conditions caused multiple crashes there. That roadway has been reopened and the road has been treated.
Massachusetts State Police urged motorists to stay home and avoid Central Massachusetts highways because of the poor road conditions.
Multiple crashes were also reported on both sides of Route 2 from Fitchburg to Littleton.
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DePaola expected the roads to be in good condition by late Sunday morning as temperatures rose above freezing.
“We should be catching up real quickly now,” DePaola said. “Within an hour or two the roads will be in good condition.”