The Iowa State Patrol responded to 185 accidents across the state on Monday, many of which involved multiple car pileups, resulting in a number of casualties, due to a snowstorm.
The accidents occurred between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. local time (7 a.m. and 10 p.m. EST). The Cedar Rapids police said they responded to 44 accidents, within the span of four and a half hours yesterday.
The worst car pileup of the day was seen on Interstate 35 (I-35), reportedly involving 70 vehicles. Among the vehicles caught up in the crash was a “Dancing With The Stars” tour bus, headed to Ames, Iowa, to perform a live show. However, there are other reports that suggest the “DWTS” tour bus accident happened on Interstate 80, as part of a 20-vehilce pileup.
None of the cast and crew onboard the bus were seriously hurt. The “DWTS” team decided to cancel the performance following minor cuts and bruises some of the members sustained.
“Given this unforeseen accident, and the fact that the safety and health of our cast and crew is of utmost importance, tonight’s show at Stephens Auditorium in Ames, Iowa, has been (canceled),” officials from “DWTS” said via press release on Monday. “To anyone involved in the accident, the entire cast sends their best wishes for a speedy recovery, and their deepest apologies to all of the fans who have been waiting to see the show tonight.”
Information regarding ticket refunds and/or the rescheduling of the show has not been made available yet.
Following what the Story County Sheriff’s Department called the worst pileup that they had ever seen, the police closed part of I-35. According to state officials, what caused the wreckage to grow were drivers trying to enter the freeway and colliding with cars already involved in the accident.
“It’s a mess. They’re trying to get everyone to slow down,” Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Nathan Ludwig told CBS affiliated KCCI. A number of other roads were also closed for the day, including Highway 30 near Grand Junction and Interstate 80 (I-80) in Clive.
He added that accidents across the state claimed the lives of seven civilians. In Eastern Iowa, a car carrying three men left the roadway on northbound Interstate 380 at 11:20 a.m. local time (12:20 a.m. EST) and struck a pillar support of a bridge overpass, killing two of the occupants in the vehicle. The third was taken to a hospital with serious injuries.
A driver died in Cedar County after he exited his car and was hit by an incoming vehicle on I-80. The vehicle was pushed into the driver when a third car lost control and hit the back of the second car. Two teenagers were killed and others injured in an accident in Winneshiek County involving a pickup truck, NBC affiliated WHO TV reported.
The deadly snowstorm, which was the primary cause behind the hundreds of accidents across Iowa, also forced numerous delays and cancellations at the Des Moines International Airport.
State Officials have warned drivers to be extra careful while driving on snow-covered roads for the next few days, due to limited visibility and blowing snow. Snow showers are expected to continue in Iowa during the second half of the day, although chances are that the accumulation of snow will not reach an inch.
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