HORNBROOK, Calif. — About 60 smashed cars shut down I-5 for nearly 12 hours after a chain-reaction crash that one California Highway Patrol official is calling the worst ice-related accident in at least five years.
Officials are blaming a sudden change in weather for the accident that caused dozens of cars to crash. CHP says no one died in the accident, but eight injuries were reported. It all happened on the northbound lane of I-5 just south of the Collier Rest Stop.
California Highway Patrol says that first accident around 6:15 p.m. Tuesday night was just the first domino. After that, in a matter of 10 minutes, CHP said there was a series of crashes involving some 60 vehicles, spanning a mile. CHP explained a sudden change in weather may be to blame, saying the temperatures dropped, freezing falling hail and creating icy roads. Of the 60 vehicles involved, only eight people were transferred to the hospital.
As of Wednesday morning, all but two had been released. Witnesses describe the scene as mayhem. CHP says several tow companies responded to the accident, coming from as far away as Redding. CHP said cleanup took longer than expected because they had to do it in stages, first laying down cinder blocks, and then getting to the cars and debris.