Nearly 40 vehicles, including two Iowa State Patrol cars, were involved in a pileup as snow battered the state Thursday afternoon, authorities said.
The crash happened just before noon in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 80 near Newton, about 35 miles east of Des Moines, according to the agency.
Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Alex Dinkla said Thursday icy roads and blizzard-like conditions caused the first wreck and led to a chain reaction involving more vehicles.
“That’s telling us vehicles are traveling way too fast for the conditions and whenever some incident is happening in front of them, they are traveling too fast and they’re unable to slow down in time,” Dinkla said, according to NBC affiliate WHO.
A massive pileup on Interstate 80, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, west of Newton, Iowa. A snowy section of Interstate 80 was closed Thursday afternoon in central Iowa, after the massive crash involving roughly 40 vehicles.Iowa Transportation Department / AP
Iowa State Patrol troopers were checking on crash victims when their squad cars were totaled in the wreckage. Photos and videos showed the vehicles crushed underneath a semitrailer.
While no troopers were injured, there were a few serious injuries and several minor ones to others involved in the pileup. Officials did not have an exact number early Friday morning and no other details were immediately available.
The pileup left dozens of motorists stuck on the interstate behind the crash site. I-80 was closed for most of the day, but reopened about 7:15 p.m. after state troopers, first responders, local law enforcement and tow operators cleared the scene.
The accident came shortly after the state Department of Transportation warned against travel amid a second winter storm in north and central Iowa.
(2-4 11 am) – "Travel not advised" conditions have been posted in central Iowa east of Des Moines and in north Iowa. We have 600+ plows on the roads, but blowing snow is making travel extremely difficult. For updates, check the Iowa 511 app or https://t.co/2XHJbG5B9b. pic.twitter.com/XIbqX670XV
— Iowa DOT (@iowadot) February 4, 2021
The National Weather Service issued a similar advisory, warning of low visibility, icy roads and snow accumulation throughout central to eastern Iowa.
On Thursday, state troopers responded to a total of 165 car crashes, 143 property damages, 285 motorist assists and 22 personal injuries, officials said.