You have permission to edit this article.

Four people dead, 7 hurt following chain reaction crashes on I-39

  • 0

COLUMBIA COUNTY (WKOW) -- Four people are dead and seven others are hurt after a series of crashes on I/39 northbound Friday morning, according to the Wisconsin State Patrol.

WSP said the first crash happened at 3:53 a.m. involving two semi trucks at WIS 60 near Lodi.

Later, at 5:11 a.m., another truck slammed into the first crash scene which resulted in a Columbia County Highway worker being seriously injured, and serious but non-life-threatening injuries to two state troopers. All three individuals were transported to UW Hospital.

Then at 6:45 a.m., another crash happened near County K, this one resulting in multiple fatalities and injuries.

"A semi-tractor traveling at highway speeds created a chain-reaction crash involving at least seven vehicles - two semi-tractor trailers, a dump truck and four passenger vehicles," said a statement from WSP.

Truck driver Michael Hayes from New Hampshire was traveling behind the group that ended up in the crash and captured it on his dash cam.

"I started hitting the brakes," Hayes tells 27 News. "The truck that was in front of me never touched his brakes. He hit the stopped traffic at 70 miles per hour," Hayes said.

He said he immediately stopped and tried to help, unfortunately, he said there just wasn't anything he could do.

"I don't know what was going through this driver's mind," Hayes says. He says the driver was one of the four fatal victims.

State Patrol officials say five bystanders were able to pull two people out of a wrecked car before it burst into flames.

"We probably would have had more fatalities if it wasn't for the quick actions of those individuals," says State Patrol Captain Jason Zeeh.

Zeeh says after the second crash, electronic highway signs alerted motorists miles from the two northbound accident scenes that crashes had occurred and caution needed to be taken by drivers.

"If people aren't paying attention to their surroundings, if people are exceeding the speed limit, if there's distracted driving these things can still happen," Zeeh says.

Northbound travel on I-90/94 near Lodi Friday was brought to a crawl or stopped for many hours.

Recommended for you