Accidents involving more than 50 vehicles shut the Ohio Turnpike down in both directions in Sandusky and Erie counties Wednesday afternoon. Two westbound lanes reopened about 10 p.m., but eastbound lanes remained closed late Wednesday.
The accidents killed three people and left a state trooper in serious condition. The trooper, Andrew B. Clouser, 29, from the Milan post is in serious but stable condition at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo.
According to the Ohio Turnpike, lanes were blocked at milepost 102 eastbound in Sandusky County, where there was a two-mile-long stretch of crashes and a backup of more than seven miles.
At about 10:30 Wednesday Lt. Josh Swindell from the Highway Patrol's Milan post said it would another five or six hours until the eastbound lanes of the turnpike reopened. He said troopers from around the state are in the process of getting vehicles turned around and that most of the passenger cars already had been.
Some of the tractor-trailers are so mangled that it's going to take some time to get them moved, he added.
All lanes were also blocked at milepost 112 westbound in Erie County. Just before 10 p.m. Wednesday, the turnpike reported on its Facebook page that two westbound lanes were open and traffic was moving.
According to the patrol, Clouser was injured when he was pinned between two vehicles. His injuries are to his abdomen and lower extremities. He has been with the State Highway Patrol for a little over a year.
Another trooper's empty car was struck by a driver at the same crash scene, and the driver kept going. Troopers were able to catch up to the car and arrested the driver for OVI.
In all, six Highway Patrol cruisers either with or without troopers in them were hit today around the state in Sandusky, Ashtabula, Crawford, Lorain and Auglaize counties. Clouser is the only trooper who was injured.
Troopers say the first crash was reported at approximately 1:25 p.m. and patrol personnel learned the Clouser was pinned at 2:05 p.m. He was first taken to Firelands Regional Medical Center in Sandusky.
Patrol crash reconstructionists responded to the scene. The crashes remain under investigation.
Get more info from the Sandusky Register.