A powerful winter storm swept through the Midwest resulting in numerous accidents and several fatalities across multiple states. One of the most devastating events occurred on a rural part of Interstate 35W in Fort Worth, Texas. Over 130 vehicles were involved in a major pileup that left six people dead, and many others injured. The chain-reaction crash started when a semi-trailer truck lost control on a bridge and crashed into several cars, creating a blockade that prevented other vehicles from stopping in time. Emergency crews rushed to the tragic scene and braved the treacherous roads and frigid temperatures to rescue trapped victims and transport them to hospitals.
Midwest Blizzard Results in Deadly Pileup on Interstate Highway
On Sunday, February 14, a powerful winter storm blanketed the Midwest with heavy snow, gusty winds, and icy conditions, leading to dozens of accidents and several fatalities across multiple states. One of the most tragic incidents occurred on a rural stretch of Interstate 35W in Fort Worth, Texas, where more than 130 vehicles collided in a massive pileup, leaving six people dead and dozens more injured.
According to witnesses and authorities, the chain-reaction crash began around 6:00 a.m. local time, when a semitrailer truck lost control on a bridge and crashed into several cars, creating a blockade that prevented other vehicles from stopping in time. Within seconds, dozens of cars, trucks, and SUVs slammed into each other, some getting crushed between bigger vehicles or pushed off the road. The chaos generated a cloud of smoke, dust, and debris, making it hard for drivers and first responders to see or breathe.
Emergency crews and law enforcement agencies rushed to the scene, braving the treacherous roads and frigid temperatures, to rescue trapped victims and transport them to hospitals. Some survivors reported crawling out of their cars or walking on the slick pavement, surrounded by wreckage and injured people. Others described using hammers, crowbars, or their bare hands to break windows and free themselves or others from twisted metal. The Texas Department of Transportation closed the highway in both directions and diverted traffic to other routes, while crews worked to clear the wreckage and repair the damaged road.
The causes and factors behind the deadly pileup are not yet clear, but weather conditions likely played a significant role. The National Weather Service had issued a winter storm warning for parts of Texas and Oklahoma, forecasting up to 6 inches of snow, strong winds, and hazardous travel conditions. Many drivers were caught off guard or unprepared for the sudden accumulation of snow and ice on the roads, which can reduce traction, visibility, and braking ability. Some drivers may have been speeding, following too closely, or distracted by their phones or other devices, which can increase the risk of collisions and amplifies the consequences of those crashes.
The Midwest Blizzard also affected other states, causing power outages, flight cancellations, and school closures. In Kansas, a 14-year-old boy died in an all-terrain vehicle crash while trying to plow a driveway. In Missouri, a 30-car pileup closed part of a major highway, causing at least one injury. In Oklahoma, a section of Interstate 40 was shut down due to a semitrailer accident, while multiple spinouts and rollovers were reported. Cleanup and recovery efforts are ongoing, as well as investigations into the causes and potential lessons of the accidents and fatalities.
Q: What is a blizzard?
A: A blizzard is a severe winter storm that combines heavy snow or blowing snow with strong winds and low visibility for at least three hours. Blizzards can create hazardous conditions for travel, communication, and infrastructure, and pose risks for exposure, accidents, and power outages.
Q: How can I prepare for a blizzard?
A: Some ways to prepare for a blizzard include stocking up on food, water, and supplies, such as batteries, flashlights, and first aid kits; checking your heating system and weatherstripping your doors and windows; having a backup generator or alternative heating source; and avoiding travel or staying informed of road conditions if you must travel.
Q: What should I do if I am caught in a blizzard?
A: If you are caught in a blizzard, it is important to stay inside or find shelter if possible, and avoid overexerting yourself or getting too cold. If you must go outside, dress in layers and cover exposed skin, use goggles or sunglasses to protect your eyes from glare and wind, and stay close to familiar landmarks or paths. If you get lost or stranded, use your phone or other signals to call for help and conserve your energy and resources by staying in one place and digging a snow cave or other shelter.