Eastbound lanes of Interstate 64 have re-opened following a 38-vehicle accident at mile marker 45 near Nitro on Thursday.
The accident, which occurred at about 5:40 p.m., involved 38 vehicles, according to Chuck Runyon, the emergency operations manager with the West Virginia Department of Transportation.
Emergency responders say this is the most shocking scene they’ve ever seen, more than three dozen vehicles clogged the Nitro/St. Albans bridge.
Sidney Crist said, “This is the worst wreck I’ve ever been, if I was two cars back no telling what could have happened.”
The Teays Valley Fire Department said at least 28 people were injured in the accident. Six, including a small child, suffered serious injuries. Nine people had to be cut out of their vehicles.
Emergency responders say heavy rain moved through the region causing the massive pileup just after 5:30 p.m. Alisha Pruitt says, “It was raining and I was at a complete stop.”
The extent of damage is just incredible. It spans the width and length of the bridge, even a few yards past the bridge on the eastbound lanes.
Crist says, “I couldn’t really hear anything other than the horns. Me and the other gentleman we went up and checked on the people.”
Transportation officials say buses drove 23 people who were not injured away from the scene. Medics transported several people to area hospitals, no one died at the scene.
Some say that fact alone is a miracle. Mike Jarrett says, “Of course he works miracles every day. But what that works best for is personal relationships. And that’s what happened here today between responders and citizens.”
Trapped for hours, people turned to each other for a helping hand. Pruitt says, “There was a pregnant lady behind me a baby in front of me. They were asking for nurses and I’m a nurse so I ran up there to check it out.”
According to the West Virginia Department of Transportation, 9 people were transported from the scene by ambulances. A KRT bus was used to transport others involved from the accident scene.
The interstate bridge between Nitro and St. Albans looked like a junk yard, as some 38 vehicles were caught in a series of chain reaction crashes on the rain-slicked eastbound lanes.
Hundreds were caught in the traffic jams that lasted hours.
Rescuers said some injuries were life-threatening. In numbers of vehicles, this may be the largest accident in modern West Virginia history.