Multiple people hurt, 1 person arrested in 2 crashes on Highway 53 Friday night

A series of incidents closed Highway 53 northbound for nearly two hours on Friday night.
Multiple people were hurt after a pair of crashes on Highway 53 northbound in Altoona on...
Multiple people were hurt after a pair of crashes on Highway 53 northbound in Altoona on Friday, Feb. 10, 2023.(Altoona Police Department)
Published: Feb. 11, 2023 at 9:25 AM CST
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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) - Multiple people were hurt and one person was arrested for suspected OWI after a series of incidents on Highway 53 northbound in Altoona Friday night.

The Altoona Police Department said the first incident was a semi trailer that had caught on fire near River Prairie Drive. The semi trailer was moved off of the highway while crews worked to put out the fire.

Traffic backups extended south to Clairemont Avenue, where speeding vehicles crashed into the stalled traffic, causing injuries to people in at least one vehicle. A lane of traffic was closed to begin a crash investigation and to medically examine the people hurt. The vehicles involved were moved to the ramp.

As first responders began to leave the scene, another crash happened near the Clairemont Avenue exit, and again, a speeding vehicle crashed into the backed-up traffic. Multiple vehicles were involved, with multiple people hurt, causing Highway 53 north of the Hastings Way exit to be closed. The driver of the vehicle was arrested on suspicion of operating while intoxicated causing injury, with a preliminary breath test showing the driver’s blood alcohol content to be twice the legal limit of 0.08. Police said open intoxicants were also tossed from the vehicle prior to officers arriving to it.

Highway 53 was reopened at 9.44 p.m. after all of the crashes had been cleared.

Also at the scene of the incidents were the Altoona Fire Department, Eau Claire Fire Department, Township Fire Department, Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Office and Eau Claire Police Department.

Multiple Incidents on HWY 53 At 8:04pm Altoona Police and Fire responded to Highway 53 near River Prairie Drive for a...

Posted by Altoona Police Department on Friday, February 10, 2023