21 injured in 85-vehicle pileup on Wisconsin interstate

Twenty-one people were injured in an 85-vehicle pileup on a southern Wisconsin interstate Friday, causing the highway to be closed for nine hours.

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According to the Wisconsin State Patrol, the wreck occurred at about 12:31 p.m. CST on Interstate 39/90 in Rock County between Beloit and Janesville, WISN-TV reported.

Troopers said the crash occurred during a “severe winter weather event” that included snow, ice and whiteout conditions.

Jessie and Brandon Stafford were two people involved in the pileup.

“A truck fishtailed and we took the end of that,” Brandon Stafford told WKOW-TV. “We smacked into the back side of him and then we got pushed off the side of the road. We got hit three or so more times. And it was just a chain reaction.”

One fatality was reported in an unrelated crash, state troopers said.

Trevor Nelson, who was also involved in the crash, said the scene was “chaos.”

“It was a scene out of a movie, to be honest with you,” Nelson told WISN.

“All of (a) sudden, it was a pileup,” another motorist, Julie Brady, told the television station. “You could just see that it was a pileup. Cars everywhere So I slid and was able to avoid hitting a pickup truck right in front of me.”

Lanes were closed in both directions but were reopened after nine hours.

According to the National Weather Service, most of southern Wisconsin is under a winter weather advisory through Sunday morning, The Hill reported.

“It’s something that you kind of see on the news in other states, so you don’t think it’s going to happen (here), we’re Midwestern, you know?” truck driver Jesus Lopez of Elgin, Illinois, told the Janesville Gazette. “It could have been way worse. All this stuff is material stuff. God is big, and he was here for sure.”