Four dead in turnpike crash, travel remains treacherous

The scene of a 50-vehicle crash on the Ohio Turnpike from earlier Friday.

SANDUSKY — Four people were killed in a multiple vehicle crash on Friday on the Ohio Turnpike.

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol Twitter account, four fatalities have been confirmed, as of 9 p.m.

Crews continue to clear 15 commercial vehicles from the road way.

The crash occurred around noon and involved approximately 50 vehicles.

The turnpike remains closed in both directions between exits 91 and 118.

Whiteout conditions persist and travel is not recommended, according to the patrol.

Gov. Mike DeWine asked Ohioans to stay off the roads.

“Our sympathy goes to those families who have lost a loved one during this severe weather situation in Ohio. Thus far four Ohioans have died and many more have been injured as a result of weather-related auto accidents,” he said. “The road conditions continue to be very dangerous across the state, with white outs and extremely cold temperatures continuing. Please continue to remain home if at all possible and be vigilant with these extremely dangerous road conditions.”

Interstates and highways remain snow covered, but mostly passable as a result of the Ohio Department of Transportation’s efforts in combating the storm throughout Northwest Ohio.

This is the 8 p.m. update from ODOT:

There are 190 crews out in ODOT District 1 and District 2 which encompasses 16 counties in Northwest Ohio, working 12-hour shifts.

Less snow accumulation than expected came with the first wave of the storm, but blowing and drifting snow continues. Some additional snowfall is predicted.

Crews are currently plowing to keep highways and interstates passable, but treating roadways is not currently possible, due to high winds and cold temperatures.

Crews will be working around the clock on Christmas Eve and likely Christmas Day.

Trucks are performing well with no major equipment issues to this point.

Statewide, four strikes of ODOT equipment involved in snow and ice control have been recorded, with one occurring on Interstate 75 near North Baltimore.

“Roads continue to be passable, which is what we expect in a storm such as this. We will continue 12-hour shifts through the Christmas holiday, but anticipate by Christmas Sunday, things will be better,” said Rod Nuveman, ODOT District 1 highway management administrator.

“ODOT crews are working hard, but visibility from the blowing snow is the issue, especially in flat, open areas. Stay home to stay safe,” said Mark Bressler, ODOT District 2 highway management administrator.

Motorists are reminded to be aware that ODOT trucks travel at slower speeds and to give them plenty of space to work. Last winter, ODOT plow trucks statewide were struck 62 times. Approximately seven strikes have occurred already this year.