ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) — Several inches of snow blanketed the ground in Elizabethtown on Thursday afternoon, causing a major traffic crash that left motorists stranded for hours.
Kentucky State Police said on the Western Kentucky Parkway eastbound, at mile marker 33 just west of Elizabethtown, roughly 20-30 cars were involved in that chain reaction crash. Police said one accident led to a domino effect, causing the other vehicles to crash. Fortunately, no injuries were reported.
One driver, Jay Greene, told WDRB’s Grace Hayba the scene was chaotic.
“You looked up, and cars were flying everywhere,” he said. “I mean everywhere.”
Green said he was traveling to Elizabethtown from Leitchfield when cars all around him started sliding off the road and hitting each other.
At the time he’d spoken with us, he’d been trapped in the backup for more than three hours.
“My vehicle isn’t damaged,” he said. “I have a car to my left that’s in the ditch, and then right in front of us, there’s a red semi that’s crossed into our lane. Then on the other side of that semi, there’s several cars that have lost the sides of their windows and doors and airbags out. There’s another semi truck behind that, turned cross the road and then several cars that’s run under the front end of the semi truck.”
Emergency crews have been on scene there for several hours, working to get those cars moved from the roadway. Police are currently diverting traffic from the westbound lanes in order to get eastbound vehicles around the accidents.
Chris Jessie of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said snow crews are doing their best to clear the roads, but the speed at which the snow is falling — and the cold temperatures — makes it difficult.
“With regard to the snowfall, it’s a high snowfall rate,” he said. “So our plow drivers — they plow, and then as soon as they’re done with that particular route, they turn right around and go plow that again. So it’s plow, plow and re-plow. With the snow now kind of starting to taper off, then we’ll get into that treatment mode, and hopefully we can get some treatment down here before the temperatures plunge tonight and skies clear out.”
But regardless of how much the crews plow, Jessie said cold temperatures can still cause problems for drivers.
“So crews are going to plow down as far as they can with the plow blades tonight,” he said. “And when that treatment gets there, it’s gonna work until we get to a certain temperature depending upon the salt and the calcium chloride. But there’s a certain point where that will not even work tonight. So we’re gonna plow down as far as we can, get some treatment on it, hopefully before the temperatures crash. Then there’s really nothing else that we can do until the temperatures rise just a bit, then we can go and try to peel that off, again, Friday morning. So that’s what our plan is for the overnight.”
He said the Western Kentucky Parkway and the Bluegrass Parkway have both been troublesome for drivers.
“All of our backroads too are very slick,” Jessie said. “There are a lot of runoffs and a lot of blockages in those areas too — just almost so many we can’t track.”
For now, he said drivers should keep their vehicles stocked up with the essentials.
“Have those emergency things,” he said. “Make sure you’re full of fuel as best you can, first of all. Have your cellphone charged. Have a charger with you. Some water — things like that. Again, things we all know to probably have with us but would neglect to otherwise have with us. It’s cliché, but it is true.”
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Roughly 20-30 cars involved in chain-reaction crash on Western Kentucky Parkway