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Icy roads lead to multiple crashes, road closures on I-94 Thursday

Nobody was killed in the crashes, according to the Wis. Department of Transportation.
Published: Dec. 23, 2021 at 7:24 AM CST|Updated: Dec. 23, 2021 at 6:32 PM CST
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HIXTON, Wis. (WEAU) - After being closed for more than 13 hours, Interstate 94 reopened Thursday evening.

A single lane was opened on I-94 eastbound from Foster to Northfield, or County Highway HH in Eau Claire County to Highway 121 in Jackson County at 8 p.m. Then, the right lane of westbound I-94 reopened at 8:33 p.m.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation said that they would keep the left lanes closed into the night while they continue to clean up damaged vehicles from a multiple-vehicle crash Thursday morning. The first crash was reported at 5:45 a.m. and the first road closure was announced at 6:55 a.m.

HIXTON, Wis. (WEAU) - Interstate 94 remains closed more than 12 hours after the first reported crash Thursday morning between Osseo and Black River Falls.

The Wisconsin State Patrol said crews are working to remove damaged vehicles near Hixton, Wis. after dozens of cars were involved in multiple crashes due to icy conditions caused by freezing rain.

About 40 to 50 cars were damaged in multiple crashes with the first crash reported at 5:45 a.m. Thursday. As of 4:10 p.m., I-94 remained closed. No one was killed and about 20 people had minor injuries, some of whom were taken to either Memorial Hospital in Black River Falls or Mayo Clinic in Osseo to be treated. The State Patrol said that it hopes to have the Interstate open later Thursday afternoon due to holiday travel.

HIXTON, Wis. (WEAU) - No one was killed and about 20 people were hurt in several crashes on Interstate 94 Thursday morning.

Of the approximately 20 people hurt, all were minor injuries, according to the Wisconsin State Patrol.

The State Patrol said about 40 vehicles, including 15 to 20 semis, were involved in several crashes and slide-offs between Osseo and Northfield along I-94 Thursday.

Egor Morozov was one of the drivers involved.

“My car just started sliding. So I was still able to slow it down. My car was sliding towards one of those guard rails. I stopped,” he said.

While stopped, Morozov said a semi-truck hit his car. His car was spun around, which left him facing traffic.

“When I saw the semis rolling and rolling, I knew I had to get out of the car as soon as possible. So when I got out of the car, I hopped out through a window,” he said. “Minutes later, I saw an explosion. What I saw I remember forever. That’s for sure.”

The first crash was reported at 5:45 a.m. Freezing rain caused roadways to become ice covered and slippery, leading to several secondary crashes around the main one, the State Patrol said. While several vehicles were involved, the State Patrol said this wasn’t a pile-up, but rather several secondary crashes around one larger one that involved multiple vehicles.

According to the Hixton Fire Department, initial estimates put the total number of vehicles involved in the crashes at over 100, but later confirmed about 50 vehicles involved in multiple crashes, including two semi fires and two car fires, and another approximately 70 vehicles in the vicinity of the crashes but not damaged. The Hixton Fire Department also confirmed no one died and several people had minor injuries, but did say several people were taken to hospitals in Black River Falls and Osseo for treatment with non-life threatening injuries. The Fire Department added that one person had to be extracted from their vehicle.

The Osseo Fire Department responded to the crashes and took some of the stranded motorists to a safe location by bus.

The State Patrol said its goal is to have the Interstate reopen sometime this afternoon due to the expected heavy volume of holiday traffic.

For those holiday travelers the closure caused delays forcing them to find an alternate route.

“It was about an hour delay through the country roads,” Kristen Cullen said.

She was driving home to Minneapolis Thursday after picking her daughters up in Madison.

“We noticed that we saw an Amish family standing at the edge of the road looking perplexed about all the traffic,” Cullen said. “It was very bad.”

She also said there was another crash along her detour route.

Susie and Dwayne Berg were heading the other direction. They experienced delays before getting to Osseo.

“We had smooth sailing until about an hour ago and then we got stuck,” Susie Berg said. “And so we’ve been crawling along and we were close to running out of gas too.”

12/23/21 - I94 Accident At 0611 HVFD, Hixton EMS and MAYO Ambulance were paged to I94 Mile post 95WB for multiple...

Posted by Hixton Fire & Rescue on Thursday, December 23, 2021

JACKSON COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU) - The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is reporting no one is hurt or killed in Thursday morning’s crashes on Interstate 94 in western Wisconsin.

Additionally, the DOT said crashes in Dunn, Eau Claire and Buffalo counties causing road closures Thursday morning have been cleared. I-94 remains closed in Jackson County from Osseo in Trempealeau County to Black River Falls in both directions.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers tweeted that there are dangerous road conditions across Wisconsin Thursday morning, writing “Please be safe and take good care if you’re traveling today.”

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The Wisconsin Department of Transportation and Wisconsin State Patrol say Thursday morning’s Interstate 94 closures will be a ‘long-duration closure.’

In a release, the State Patrol said that a crash involving multiple vehicles at 5:45 a.m. happened near mile marker 96, or between Osseo and Northfield.

A semi trailer was on fire in the median of the Interstate with two vehicles trapped underneath when the State Patrol arrived. Several other crashes and run-offs happened nearby. The passengers of all vehicles were taken by bus to a safe location, according to the State Patrol. No injuries or deaths have been reported. The State Patrol said that freezing rain caused icy road conditions from Menomonie to Black River Falls, with emergency services responding to multiple crashes, run-offs, and jackknifed semis.

I-94 remains closed in both directions as of 10 a.m. Thursday from Osseo to Black River Falls. I-94 eastbound is closed from Highway 37 to Highway 93 in Eau Claire County in a separate crash.

OSSEO, Wis. (WEAU) - Interstate 94 is closed from Osseo to Black River Falls due to multiple crashes and icy roads Thursday morning, according to the Wisconsin State Patrol.

The State Patrol said they can’t put a number on the total amount of incidents because it is an active situation.

An extension of an early-morning closure on I-94 was made at 9:09 a.m. The freeway is closed eastbound from Highway 10 in Osseo to Highway 95 in Hixton. Westbound, it is closed from Highway 12/27 in Black River Falls to County Highway HH in Foster, per the Wisconsin Department of Transportation as of 9:30 a.m.

A jackknifed semi closed I-94 eastbound from Highway 37 to Highway 93 south of Eau Claire at 9:39 a.m.

A jackknifed semi closed eastbound Interstate 94 south of Eau Claire, Wis. from Highway 37 to...
A jackknifed semi closed eastbound Interstate 94 south of Eau Claire, Wis. from Highway 37 to Highway 93 on Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021.(Wisconsin Department of Transportation)

The State Patrol said it will take quite a bit of time to clear the Interstate due to the number of crashes. The Wisconsin DOT has each closure estimated at taking over two hours to clear.

A video from someone at the scene at the time of one of the crashes shows a semi catching on fire during the crash.

***CAUTION: THIS VIDEO HAS STRONG LANGUAGE***

JACKSON COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU) - Interstate 94 is impassable from Osseo to Northfield in west-central Wisconsin Thursday morning, according to the Wisconsin State Patrol.

According to Wis. State Patrol Sgt. Sean Berkowitch, multiple crashes and icy conditions have closed I-94 from Osseo in Trempealeau County to Northfield in Jackson County.

Traffic is being rerouted both eastbound and westbound. Berkowitch said that vehicles can’t get up the hills on that stretch of I-94, causing several vehicles to be stuck. Additionally, State Patrol and other first responders were working on four or five active crashes and one semi fire as of 7:15 a.m. The State Patrol posted on Facebook and Twitter that they are investigating a number of crashes and run-offs as a result of icy roads, and said that the number of vehicles involved is not 100, but that there are “a lot of cars, a lot of semis” involved as of 8 a.m.

The detours for eastbound traffic is to exit at Highway 10 in Osseo, go south on Highway 53, and eastbound on Highway 121 back onto I-94. For westbound traffic, they would follow the reverse of those directions. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation closed I-94 at 6:55 a.m. Thursday.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office issued a statement saying that all roads in the county are ice covered and slippery and asked people to stay home and limit travel. The Chippewa Falls Police Department reported Thursday morning they were working on several slide-offs and crashes, especially along the county’s two major highways, Highway 29 and Highway 53.

According to the Wis. DOT, ice-covered conditions were present on every major roadway in west-central Wisconsin, including Highways 8, 10, 29, 35, 53, 63, and Interstate 94 as of 8:30 a.m.

A crash closed Highway 25 south of Durand in both directions as of 7:14 a.m. Thursday, according to the Wis. DOT and Buffalo County Sheriff’s Office. This crash was caused by a log truck rolling over. Another crash on I-94 was reported west of Menomonie near the Knapp hill, closing the left lane eastbound at 9:01 a.m.

**Slow Down and Drive Safe** With the rain and sleet road conditions are extremely slippery. Officers are out assisting...

Posted by Chippewa Falls Police Department on Thursday, December 23, 2021

***UPDATE 12/23/21 8:30 p.m.*** The right lanes of I-94 EB/WB are open. ### ***UPDATE 12/23/21 3:30 p.m.*** JACKSON...

Posted by Wisconsin State Patrol on Thursday, December 23, 2021

I-94 East and West CLOSED from US 10 to beyond US 10 because of a crash. Last Updated 12/23/21, 6:55 AM. Check 511 WI for updates.

Posted by Trempealeau County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, December 23, 2021
A multi-vehicle crash closed portions of Interstate 94 in western Wisconsin on Thursday, Dec....
A multi-vehicle crash closed portions of Interstate 94 in western Wisconsin on Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021.(Wisconsin Department of Transportation)
Icy conditions and multiple crashes closed a part of I-94 in western Wisconsin on Thursday,...
Icy conditions and multiple crashes closed a part of I-94 in western Wisconsin on Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021.(Wisconsin Department of Transportation)

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