PAINESVILLE, OH — The Ohio Department of Transportation has issued a statement regarding the Christmas Eve pile-up on I-90 East near Vrooman Rd. in Lake County.
More than two dozen vehicles, including two commercial vehicles, were involved in the crash that sent 8 people to local hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.
Most of the vehicles were totaled.
Sgt. T. Sexton with the Ohio State Highway Patrol Chardon Post said the crash occurred as some drivers tried to avoid another accident.
He also said some cars were travelling at an “unreasonable speed” for the weather, and that visibilities were quickly reduced to near white out conditions just before the pile-up.
Some people have suggested that the cement construction barriers that are installed along that stretch of I-90 might have contributed to the crash because drivers had nowhere to swerve to avoid them.
An ODOT spokesperson said generally, those barriers are taken down during the winter months.
ODOT Public Information Officer Molly Leonard said that they last poured cement along that stretch of I-90 a couple of weeks ago, but workers have been unable to apply the proper “pavement markings” necessary before the barriers could be removed.
“All work is weather permitting and because we have not had dry and warm enough weather since the last pavement pour, we are unable to put down the pavement markings to be able to take the barriers down,” said Leonard.
The accident remains under investigation, but Sgt. Sexton does not think the barriers played a major role in the crash. He told Fox 8 that people were simply driving too fast and too close to one another for the weather conditions at that time.
He encourages drivers to always keep a safe distance behind other vehicles, but especially in icy and snowy weather.