On Monday, January 21, 2013, a freak snowfall caused whiteout conditions on I-275, just north of the Kentucky border in Ohio. Although temperatures were below freezing, officials think the pavement was warm enough to melt the snow as it fell, then the cool air refroze it into ice. As cars began to slip and slide, other drivers coming up behind them were unable to see them in time to stop, so the cars and trucks crashed into one another. By the time it was all said and done, at least 86 cars and trucks were involved in the accident.
Unfortunately, one 12-year-old girl was killed when she exited the damaged car she had been riding in. While some might question why someone would get out of a car on a highway, she or the driver she was with were probably afraid they would get hit in their car if they stayed inside. Someone else involved in the car crash confirmed this belief, saying, "I just hopped out of the car as fast as I could and ran to the side of the road, and it wasn't even five seconds after I exited my vehicle, my car got completely smashed by the semi." At least 20 other people were also taken to the hospital with injuries.
Initial reports said the girl who lost her life was hit by a barrier cable that had snapped during the accident. This information had people wondering if this type of barrier system is more dangerous than concrete or metal barriers. According to a news report from WCPO, a Cincinnati news station, the sheriff's deputies that were at the accident site said the cable barrier had not broken. Rather, it struck the girl as it was snapping back after several cars hit it. The Ohio Department of Transportation believes the cable barriers are actually safer than concrete or metal barriers because they do not cause cars and trucks that hit them to bounce back into traffic and cause more accidents.
With the amount of vehicles involved in this huge car and truck accident, investigators will have an incredibly difficult time sorting out what exactly happened. Even the witnesses that were there at the time of the accident probably won't be much help because the visibility was so poor at the time. The damage on the vehicles may be helpful, as well as where the cars and trucks were positioned after the crash. Anyone injured in a crash of this magnitude, in Ohio, Kentucky, or elsewhere, would be smart to contact a car accident attorney who is licensed to practice in the state where the accident occurred. Even if a victim is from another state, any type of legal action taken will have to be in the state where he or she was injured. Sometimes, local attorneys can provide referrals for out-of-state attorneys. For example, if someone involved in this accident was from Kentucky, they could contact a Kentucky personal injury attorney for a recommendation on an Ohio personal injury attorney, since the accident happened in Ohio.
Girl killed, 138 cars involved in two massive pileups; Fox19 news; January 21, 2013
Did cable barriers play a role in fatal I-275 crash?; wcpo.com; January 22, 2013