1 dies, 50 vehicles crash during I-83 snowsquall

Written by Teresa Boeckel/York Daily Record | Jan 31, 2017 6:04 AM

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Traffic in the area was affected for hours after the crashes on Interstate 83.(Photo: Paul Kuehnel, York Daily Record)

The crashes left the interstate clogged from Glen Rock to Loganville on Monday afternoon.

(York) -- A sudden "fog of snow" on Monday afternoon turned Interstate 83 into a slick highway, resulting in several crashes along the highway with the biggest being a 50-vehicle pileup just south of the Loganville interchange.

A truck driver died in the crash, and nine suffered injuries, according to officials. The York County Coroner's Office said late Monday night that the crash victim struck the rear of a truck in front of him. His truck also was struck by vehicles behind him.The name of the victim had not been released Monday night.

Those who were injured were taken to York and Memorial hospitals. The injuries did not seem to be life-threatening, Loganville Fire Chief Bryan Ream said Monday night.

The interstate remained closed southbound for more than seven hours as state police reconstructed the crash and tow trucks hauled the mangled vehicles away from the scene. Traffic was reopened to one lane northbound, where another crash had happened as well.

Sean Campbell, a pediatrician with Pediatric Care of York, was involved in the pileup, but said he and his passenger were OK. He said he came upon the snowsquall just south of the Loganville exit. He put on his brakes, slid for a distance and hit a car. He called it a chain-reaction crash, with one vehicle after another colliding.

Campbell described the squall like "a fog of snow," and said he had not been involved in a crash like this before.

"This should be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I hope," he said.

Bobbi Jo Winneberger was a few vehicles behind the crash when Interstate 83 southbound got ugly between the Loganville and Glen Rock exits. Paul Kuehnel


Bobbi Jo Winneberger of Glen Rock described how she slid in beside a car next to her. She watched as a tractor-trailer slid, turned sideways and hit vehicles in front of it. More trucks came. She said she was pinned against a guard rail.

"I was so scared," she said. "There was nowhere for me to go, and cars just kept piling up on top of each other."

Denny Miser of Stewartstown was stuck in the backlog after the pileup. He said he had just traveled northbound and saw fender benders along the way. Miser said he was driving his Hyundai Elantra about 40 mph while heading back home.

"I still had trouble stopping," he said.

Visibility was limited to a couple hundred yards during the snowsquall, and the highway was snow-covered and icy, Miser said. He said he imagined that an icy bridge was the culprit.

Miser also noted how quickly the weather changed after the crash.

"Ten minutes later, the sun was out, and the snow melted," he said.

State police Cpl. Ryan Lawrence said the scene involved several multiple crashes, and in total 50 vehicles had been involved. A news release broke it down to 40 passenger vehicles and 10 commercial vehicles.

The crashes started occurring around mile marker 9 and continued until about mile marker 9.5, he said.

With the amount of snow that fell, it was like an ice-skating rink, Ream said. There was really nothing drivers could do.

The Loganville Volunteer Fire Company opened its doors to those who had been stranded on the highway. A Rabbittransit bus responded to the crash to help transport people to get them out of the cold.

Members of the fire company provided hot dogs, pie and beverages for those waiting to make other arrangements to get home.

This story is part of a partnership between WITF and the York Daily Record.

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