Feb. 6 (UPI) — At least one person died in a crash involving up to 70 vehicles on Iowa’s Interstate 35 on Monday, local authorities said.
Story County Sheriff’s Capt. Barry Thomas said five people were taken to the hospital in critical condition and others sustained minor injuries in the crash that took place in Ames at around 12:30 p.m.
“In my 26 years in law enforcement I’ve never seen a pileup of this nature or this severe,” Thomas said. “The sheer number of vehicles that were involved in this is unlike anything that I’ve ever seen.”
A winter storm has brought up to 7 inches of snow to Ames and has caused slippery road conditions.
Officials said drivers attempting to enter the snow-covered freeway and running into existing crashes contributed to the massive pileup.
Southbound lanes were closed due to multiple crashes but the northbound lanes were open to allow emergency response vehicles to rescue people stranded on the freeway.
“It’s a mess. They’re trying to get everyone to slow down,” Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Nathan Ludwig said.
One of the vehicles involved in the crash was a tour bus transporting the cast and crew of Dancing with the Stars: Live! Light Up the Night to Stephens Auditorium.
A representative for Dancing With the Stars announced the show was canceled following the “unforeseen accident.”
“To anyone involved in the accident, the entire cast sends their best wishes for a speedy recovery, and their deepest apologies to all of the fans who have been waiting to see the show tonight,” the representative said.