Two Die in January 17 I-96 Pileup
Timothy Martinez, a 40-year-old commercial driver from Wyoming, is now facing charges for allegedly being at fault in the fatal pileup that took place on Sunday, January 17th, on I-96. He is not, however, the only one. Apparently there are 20 drivers who have been cited for the series of crashes that all took place in the same area on the same day.
According to the MSP, who headed up the investigation, the incident ended up involving a total of 65 cars. Two people lost their lives, and a number of others were injured in the massive crash, which police are saying took place because too many people were driving in an unsafe manner in very poor conditions.
The I-96 pileup happened near Hartford, at about 2 in the afternoon. The first pileup, involving nine vehicles, took place then. But while officers were clearing the debris left from that accident, another pile-up took place less than a quarter mile away on the same stretch of highway.
The second accident happened when two semi-trucks collided and completely blocked the eastbound lanes of I-96, which resulted in another 44 cars getting caught up in the ensuing accident. Officers then closed the eastbound lanes of I-96 in order to deal with the aftermath of the accidents. But it wasn’t long before another collision and resulting pileup took place on the westbound lanes, this time involving another 12 vehicles.
A Hartford Community Schools bus transported uninjured people to a local church, where they were interviewed by investigators attempting to determine how the accident happened. The Red Cross provided assistance to people there, who were shaken up and cold.
Troopers have said that a number of people reported white-out conditions and low visibility. Officers are now certain that a major factor in the accidents was speed. A number of people, they say, were traveling too fast for the weather and road conditions at the time.
Martinez, who was driving a commercial vehicle traveling east at the time of the crash, has been charged with two counts of reckless driving causing death and two counts of reckless driving causing serious impairment of a bodily function. All told, if convicted he is facing a substantial amount of time in prison.