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What to do if you're in a crash backup

Posted at 8:00 PM, Feb 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-15 20:00:53-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- Two separate chain reaction crashes Sunday involved a total of 90 vehicles. 

A burst of snow on I-65 near Lebanon resulted in a chain reaction 40 vehicle crash.

Less than an hour later, 50 vehicles were involved in another crash on I-70 west in Putnam County, where drivers sat in the backup for up to seven hours. 

"A couple of hours, I get it. I understand these things happen. But it's going on 7 hours and no one has said a a word to us. New flash! It's 15 degrees outside and people are running out of gas," Mike Kopatich said. 

State police hear those complaints in chain reaction accidents. They say their first priority is tending to the injured, and several people were treated for broken bones and cuts in both crashes. In Putnam County, many of the wrecked vehicles were near a bridge, hampering tow trucks getting through. 

"In most crashes, if we're going to be there long and have the manpower to clear the backup, we'll get traffic to an exit that's close or a crossover to try to get that removed also," Sgt. Rich Myers with the Indiana State Police said. 

PREVIOUS | 40 vehicles involved in crash on I-65 NB in Lebanon | 50 vehicles involved in crash in Putnam County

Police also have to dispatch wreckers to remove damaged vehicles and then have INDOT treat the road to prevent other crashes, and that can take hours.

Bursts of bad weather frighten even professional drivers. 

"Ice, snow. Just freak weather like this, you know? We're pulling 80,000 pounds and it takes us a lot longer to stop," truck driver David Christensen said. 

Police also say Sunday's accidents are a reminder to keep emergency supplies in your car. 

"If we're in the company truck, we've got a few things. If it's my wife and I, we've got extra coats, blankets and water," James Kervy said. 

State police also say to stay in your car. 

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