WAKEFIELD (CBS) — It was a tangled mess of damaged vehicles on Route 128 north in Wakefield Wednesday morning.
“All you could hear was one car after another hitting one after another,” said driver Nathan St. Onge.
Smashed front ends, rear ends and dangling bumpers as at least 55 cars sandwiched each other with no place to go as freezing rain turned the highway into a skating rink. The crash happened around 6:15 a.m. between Exits 39 and 40.
At least three cars bounced off Tyler Souza’s pickup truck causing him to spinout in the path of an oncoming oil truck. “My driver’s side was facing oncoming traffic and the oil truck was having trouble stopping. Luckily he just missed me I thought he’d smack me head on,” said Souza.
Nathan St. Onge said he was right in the middle of the chain reaction pileup and decided to get out quickly. “I got out of the passenger side and ended up diving over the guard rail,” he said. “I wasn’t sure how many more cars were going to come slamming into the back of me.”
As the cars started to pile up, people tried to help each other out.
“Everybody was instantly jumping out of their cars that could,” Onge said. “People were trying to help other people out of their cars. I saw one guy trying to break a window of another car trying to get someone who was pinned in there out.”
Another man driving behind the pileup said he jumped out of his car and ran to help people hurt in the crash, helping one man with a minor knee injury get to first responders.
The highway was shut down from Wakefield to Woburn as a legion of tow trucks worked to remove the damaged vehicles that pinned some drivers inside.
“Numerous air bags deployed, there was considerable damage to the vehicles but it’s really a miracle no one was hurt,” said Wakefield Fire Chief Michael Sullivan.
Only eight people were transported to the hospital with minor injuries.
Tyler Souza says he’s thankful he wasn’t hurt calling it a frightening experience. “My whole body was in shock,” Souza said. “I was paralyzed and didn’t know what to do but brace for impact.”
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Ben Parker reports
WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano contributed to this report.