Powerful Winter Storm Causes Massive Pileups on I-80
RAWLINS, Wy. — Three people have died, and possibly dozens more have suffered varying injuries in two massive pileups on Interstate 80 near Rawlins, Wyoming. One of the pileup crashes involved approximately 100 vehicles, and another involved 40 more cars. According to a report appearing on Foxnews.com, troopers from the Wyoming Highway Patrol announced in a press release that the first reports of crashes came in around 3:40 p.m. on Sunday in the vicinity of mileposts 181 and 184 in Rawlins. The city of Rawlins is situated about 180 miles west of Cheyenne, Wyoming. The statement from the Wyoming State Patrol indicated that weather probably played a role in the crashes but did not rule out negligence on behalf of any driver. *
I-80 is reputed to be one of the most dangerous Interstate highways in the United States. However, the two pile-ups occurred during a blustery winter storm in which winds reached 50 miles per hour or greater. Photographs of the 100-vehicle pile-up show twisted hunks of metal from heaped on top of other big rigs and passenger cars. The three people who perished the crash were victims of the larger pileup.
Four miles down the road, 40 vehicles slammed together, creating a massive debris field. Seven people sustained injuries in this collision. One of the victims of that crash is listed by a local hospital as critical.
Memorial Hospital of Carbon County experienced a difficult time handling the wounded. The rural medical center has 25 beds for patients. However, first responders continue to locate injured motorists in the pile-up. Thus, the hospital expected additional patients to arrive. The hospital opened a triage area in its cafeteria and also called in three additional physicians to treat the injured.
Highway Patrol officers and local sheriffs’ deputies experienced a difficult situation as well. Law enforcement shut down I-80 so they could evacuate the wounded and clear the roadway of debris. Officers used a rolling shut down procedure to close I-80 so that no one area would become inundated with stranded motorists who were without provisions.
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