WEST BEND — One person is dead and at least six people were sent to the hospital with injuries following a major pileup of vehicles and semi-trucks that shut down traffic for hours along I-41 in Washington County Wednesday afternoon.
The Wisconsin State Patrol said in a release that a 37-year-old woman from Trenton, Tenn. died from the injuries sustained in one of the crashes along the interstate. Six other people were transported to hospitals in West Bend for medical treatment. Both sides of the interstate have reopened, State Patrol said in an update.
Between CTH D and STH 60 on the interstate, there were a total of 20 different accidents that included at least 80 vehicles, according to statements from the patrol and the Washington County Sheriff's Office. Heavy snowfall and cold temperatures resulted in flash freeze conditions along the interstate, leading to the pileups, the State Patrol said.
Washington County Sheriff's Office said it is handling the largest segment of crashes, on I-41's northbound lanes just south of Cedar Creek Road. In that segment, the office says a total of 48 vehicles were involved, and 38 of those were damaged.
Six people were brought to local medical facilities with varying degrees of injuries, the office says, and another 26 people were evaluated and treated at the scene of the pileup.
Rite Way Bus Service Inc. assisted with the mass transit of about 50 stranded motorists to Pioneer Travel Plaza, which acted as a reunification and investigative point for the incident, according to the office. I-41 northbound was closed at STH 60 due to this scene.
Other smaller pileups dotted the interstate Wednesday, after an April snowstorm walloped southeastern Wisconsin.
The Town of Wayne crash
Issues on the interstate began around 11:13 a.m. Wednesday, when the Washington County Sheriff’s Office Communications Center began taking a number of 911 calls from motorists on I-41 near CTH D in the Town of Wayne. People reported multi-vehicle crashes involving both passenger vehicles and commercial motor vehicles.
Kohslville Fire Department was the lead fire department in this first incident, and no major injuries were reported. Several commercial motor vehicles had to be removed from the traffic lanes, an effort that led to substantial traffic delays on I-41 southbound at STH 28.
Town of Polk crash
About 15 minutes later, the emergency communications center began taking more 911 calls of new multi-vehicle crashes along I-41 from Arthur Road to Cedar Creek Road in the Town of Polk.
That crash involved about thirty vehicles, and is the pileup in which the 37-year-old died, according to the State Patrol. A total of six other people were transported to hospitals in West Bend for medical treatment. The Wisconsin State Patrol is investigating the fatal crash and was assisted by its Technical Reconstruction Unit.
Interstate 41 remains closed in both directions as officers from the Wisconsin State Patrol and Washington County Sheriff's Office investigate crashes and remove damaged vehicles from the scene.
The Slinger Fire Department was the lead fire department in these incidents and numerous other fire departments and rescue squads assisted from both in and out of Washington County, the sheriff's office says.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the Wisconsin State Patrol and the Slinger Police Department are investigating the various crashes on the interstate.