ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Freezing rain coincided with the start of morning rush hour Wednesday rendering local roads and highways almost undriveable and causing numerous wrecks around the St. Louis area, including a 31-vehicle pileup near downtown.
That pile-up included several tractor-trailers and even some first responders, were caught up in a chain-reaction crash eastbound Interstate 64 just past Vandeventer. That’s where the highway begins to slope down into the depressed section near the former Famous-Barr building.
Motorist Jenae Epps had her 10-month-old son Marshawn in the car with her when she completely lost control on the black ice.
“I was just like ‘Oh my God, is this really happening?’,” Epps said at the scene. “And I was just thinking about (Marshawn), like, Oh my God he’s in the car with me. Oh my God, oh my God!”
She says a jackknifing semi missed hitting their car by inches and she and Marshawn escaped unharmed.
Twenty-one people were hospitalized, one with critical injuries.
Dozens of vehicles had wrecked from St. Charles County to the Metro East. An accident had the westbound lanes closed at Grand; accidents were also reported on I-55, I-270, I-70, I-255, and I-170.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol reported at least 60 wrecks in the region.
KMOX’s Brett Blume reports that the road conditions have left many commuters asking, “Where is the Missouri Department of Transportation?”
But Tom Blair with MODOT tells KMOX that the department was not caught flat-footed as some have suggested.
Only about 0.10-inch of freezing rain fell over an hour-and-a-half period starting around 4 a.m. Wednesday, but it was enough to cause extremely slick spots, especially on bridges, overpasses and ramps, just as the morning commute was under way.
Copyright KMOX Radio/AP