Police say whiteout caused multi-car crash on Thruway
WHITESBORO — A sudden and heavy snow squall cut through Central Oneida County Sunday afternoon, causing whiteout conditions on major highways. Upwards of 20 vehicles piled up and snarled traffic on the Thruway, according to the New York State Police.
No serious injuries were reported. Crews worked throughout the afternoon to clear damaged vehicles.
A series of motor vehicle crashes were reported between the Westmoreland and Utica Thruway exits about 2 p.m. on Sunday. Authorities said zero visibility due to blowing snow was a major factor in the crashes.
“We were driving along when we hit a snow squall and couldn’t see anything,” said Lexi Jamieson Marsh, who was traveling from Ohio to Lake Placid with her husband and their young son. They were going to celebrate their anniversary when they got caught in the crash.
“The next thing we knew, we are in a 20-car pileup,” she said.
Rescue personnel from multiple local fire departments responded to the Thruway and other nearby highways to help clear vehicles, including the Westmoreland Fire Department.
Among the damaged vehicles was a bus carrying 17 basketball players from Victor in western New York.
The Victor boys basketball team had just won the Section AA state championship in Glens Falls. The Westmoreland Fire Department opened up their station to house the students while they waited for a replacement bus to take them home.
“We escorted them back here, gave them a nice, warm shelter,” said Westmoreland Fire Chief Jeff Grube. He said the bus was still operable to get the students to the fire station, and they waited about an hour for a new bus to complete the journey home.
“There was a very heavy squall at the time,” Grube explained. “Low visibility.”
According to the state police, there were no serious injuries reported in the various crashes.
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