PAINSEVILLE, OH -- A near Christmas catastrophe was avoided for dozens of drivers involved in a terrible accident in Lake County.
Ohio State Troopers say 28 vehicles, including 2 commercial vehicles, collided Tuesday morning on I-90 east near Vrooman Road.
The drivers were trying to avoid another accident when they crashed.
Troopers have determined that alcohol was not a factor, but “unreasonable speed for the [weather] conditions” caused it.
Many of the vehicles were totaled, but incredibly, only 8 people were transported to local hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.
A lot of the drivers and passengers involved were headed to their Christmas destinations when the accident happened.
“You see that many vehicles and you just hope everyone made it out safe,” said Terry King, from King’s Towing in Painesville.
Multiple crews from King’s Towing and Bob’s Garage and Towing responded to help clear the wreckage, but Terry King soon learned that presented another problem.
He says his phone started ringing off the hook at around 4 a.m. Christmas morning.
“I said, 'who's calling me Christmas morning?” said King. “Well, they had Christmas presents in all the cars. So we opened up and got them down here and got them back on the road.”
Terry says everyone was extremely grateful to have their packages in time for the holiday, but more than anything, they were thankful that everyone survived.
“A lot of them were sitting in those vehicles, they didn't know if something else was going to come behind them. They didn't know whether they were going to make it. They were just holding on, hoping for the best and praying,” said Terry King.
Troopers are encouraging motorists to pay attention to the rapidly changing road conditions associated with winter weather and to keep a safe distance behind other traffic to allow for greater stopping distance in inclement weather.