sergeant.Ryan Purpura of the Ohio Highway Patrol said in a statement video Four people were killed and many others were injured, according to a post on Twitter late Friday. The names of the victims were not released, and authorities did not specify how many people were injured.
“It’s a stark reminder of what happens when you drive and try to drive in adverse weather conditions,” Purpura said in the video. “We ask you not to travel unless absolutely necessary. If you do have to travel, we ask Take precautions, take your time, be patient, wear your seatbelt and increase your following distance.”
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (right) echoed authorities urging people to stay off the road.
“Our hearts go out to the families who have lost loved ones during severe weather conditions like this in Ohio,” he said in a statement. statement“If possible, please continue to stay at home and remain vigilant for these extremely dangerous road conditions.”
The deadly crash in Ohio was the fallout of a winter storm that the National Weather Service described as “once in a generation” that was expected to cut a 2,000-mile stretch of road across much of the country over Christmas weekend. While more than 200 million Americans have been alerted to potentially dangerous weather in their areas, many travelers are ignoring advice to stay home and are facing flight cancellations, road closures and train and bus system shutdowns.
Nearly 6,000 U.S. flights were canceled on Friday, according to flight-tracking website FlightAware. About 1,800 U.S. flights scheduled to depart on Saturday had been canceled as of 10 a.m. ET, according to FlightAware.
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Authorities in Ohio, Kansas, Oklahoma and Kentucky reported at least 13 people were killed in car crashes on Friday as people began hitting the roads for the holidays.
In Ohio, officials said the initial crash began around 11:45 a.m. Friday, with more cars colliding about 45 minutes later. Buses were called in to take people from the crash area to a facility so they could keep warm, according to the Ohio Highway Patrol.
High-speed winds and snow were expected throughout the weekend in Ohio, and the eastbound lanes of the Ohio Turnpike near Sandusky were closed Saturday morning, authorities said.Westbound lanes on the toll road reopened late Friday, nearly 12 hours later than originally scheduled collision.
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In Sandusky, on the shores of Lake Erie, community members recounted how they rushed to provide warm food, drink and shelter to those caught in a car crash.
“That’s what we do,” Clyde-Green Springs superintendent Lucas Messer told ABC affiliate WEWS in Cleveland. “It’s the pride of our community, our town, and anything we can do to strengthen and help, anyone around us is really just a way we do business here.”
Robert Clark, who traveled from Detroit when winter weather changed his plans, told the station that he and his partner “had a few seconds to get out.”
“Honestly, we’re very lucky to be here,” Clark said.