Still stuck in Turnpike pileup

Motorists at a standstill for almost eight hours
Mar 12, 2014


A chain reaction accident during the snowstorm involving as many as 50 vehicles on the Ohio Turnpike that killed three people continues to snarl traffic.

Some drivers were wishing they'd see as much as a snail's pace soon.

"I've been here since 2:30 p.m. We've probably moved 1/2 mile," said Tim Wilkes, of Sandusky . "You think, 'Oh good, we're going to start going again but we're basically just stuck." 

Wilkes said he was worried he'd run out of gas.

Three people killed in Turnpike chain reaction

Drivers and families waiting for loved ones to get home were contacting the Register all afternoon with updates. Wilkes' wife emailed the newspaper and provided his phone number. Other stuck motorists said they were getting updates at and leaving comments at the newspaper's Facebook page, which drew more than a million page views quickly after the Register broke the news story.

"I have a friend that has been sitting in his car for four to five hours with no relief in sight," one reader wrote.

A Turnpike service area is located near the pileup but it hasn't been overwhelmed. Both the eastbound and westbound lanes of the Turnpike remain closed and there's no estimate how long it will be before it can be reopened.  

"We're working dilligently to get traffic routed," Ohio Patrol Lt. Anne Ralston said late Wednesday. "Folks will have to wait it out until we get it cleared out." 

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The Ohio State Patrol and the Turnpike Commission both dropped the ball on this one. They had put signs up miles before the crash site that read 'All vehicles must exit. Long delays ahead.' However, not once did they put a trooper out to direct people off of the interstate. This left motorists driving for miles on clear roads with minimal traffic before coming upon a large backup with one state trooper parked 100 yards behind the backup rather than back further diverting traffic off of the toll road or into rest areas. There is no reason for 200+ trucks to be sitting on the interstate for 6+ hours when we could have either A) went around the crash or B) parked in the rest area. If the weather is so bad...why did they not shut down the toll road? This one falls on the Turnpike Commission.


I think they tried, but they all got stuck. I was listening to the scanner, and there were wrecks right in front of the troopers. One trooper even had his car hit by a car that kept going. It turned out to be a drunk driver. I don't think there was any way the troopers could've gotten out of there no matter what they did. Maybe the police or sheriff where the exits were? But they were also so busy. I think that's why they issue level 3's...for peoples' own safety. It might be a long time before anyone will be able to get to you if you do have an accident.


If you pass a sign that says "long delays" and don't exit, you sir are the idiot! 3 dead, multiple injured, 50+ crashed vehicles,(and that's just the turnpike alone) and you think they should have had a trooper sit and do nothing at an exit because you're too dumb to get off the road?


I think troopers had a little more to worry about than babysitting people who disregarded the warning sign that clearly said "ALL VEHICLES MUST EXIT" and got themselves stuck in traffic.


Maybe it said all vehicles EXCEPT paco69! We will have to go look at the sign when it is safe to drive.


Maybe the signs should have read "Road Closed - Exit Now", position patrol and turnpike vehicles, with lights flashing,to force drivers into right lane and off the turnpike. And, as a second thought have local authorities directing the traffic around the problem to the next turnpike entrance.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike has, in place, a series of warning signs with the message "Traffic Alert - Tune to XXXX". The turnpike's radio alert system then informs you of the problem with alternate solutions. I was able to avoid the accident caused traffic back up by exiting as suggested. When I checked the station, just before exiting, the traffic was starting to move but I opted to leave the turnpike since it was close enough to my destination by using state highways.
Had a system like that been in place all east bound traffic, from the Indiana border to the last open exit, could have been informed. Additional warning signs at entrances stating "Turnpike Closed at Exit ##" would have alerted drivers to the problem.


What? Why would they need a trooper there if there were signs that said "all vehicles must exit long delays ahead" if the idiots would read the signs they wouldn't be stuck there.


I've always wondered the mentality of a person who uses 69 in their screen name anyhow...


Uhh maybe because i was born in 1969 smarty.

Stop It

They should have closed the toll booth entrances and left the exits open. There was clearly no way to stop what had already happened but letting more in sure didn't help.


Interesting followup piece by Todd Franko of the Youngstown News regarding backups on the turnpike. Not surprised by the response. It's a short read.


Very interesting. Thanks for sharing!


One can only hope that people will learn something from this amd it never happens again, but we all know somewhere sometime it will happen again because we are all human and are going to make mistakes. And some mistakes are going to be costly just like this one ,It happens not only here but all over the world .The only way this will not happen again is if we all are perfect and we all know none of us are . So instead of talking about what should have been done take notes so it can be avoided if and when it happens again

O Really

Dont they use road flares to divert traffic....maybe they should have had a turnpike worker out there with flares? I am sure that one of them could have taken the task of doing that emergency task for all the idiots that didnt read & since the Trooper's were busy?
But maybe that is to simple of a solution?