Two Drivers Killed On I94

Topic 25924 | Page 1

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Bruce K.'s Comment
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RACINE COUNTY — A series of crashes late Wednesday morning on Interstate 94 caused two deaths and multiple incinerated vehicles, shutting down the Interstate in both directions well into the night.

The incident began along I-94 north of Highway 20 at 50th Road in Yorkville at approximately 11 a.m. Wednesday. A semitrailer was driving south on I-94 near 50th Road when the driver made a lane change, hit a construction barrier, overcorrected and hit the Interstate median wall, shoving it into the northbound lanes, Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling said during a press conference Wednesday afternoon at the Sheriff's substation in Yorkville.

Three vehicles in the I-94 northbound lanes then crashed into one another and the median moved by the semi, Schmaling said.

After that, a second semitrailer traveling northbound veered off the road into the ditch line near Kraut Road and burst into flames.

Both truck drivers were killed, and two other people were seriously injured, Schmaling said.

Schmaling said the second semitrailer driver avoiding the other vehicles and barrier likely saved lives, and called the driver a hero.

He said that due to "gridlock" after the crash, first responders had difficulty getting to patients.

Shortly after the crash, traffic had slowed to a crawl on roads approaching the Interstate, with many of them blocked off. The frontage roads were also shut down in both directions.

Schmaling said, "There's is no secret I-94 is under extreme construction," and that construction has caused several problems on the Interstate.

"We've been experiencing a lot of crashes," Schmaling said and advised motorists to slow down and be aware of other drivers. "It only takes one person to make one small error, and it has devastating effects, as we've seen today."

Schmaling called the crash the worst he had ever been a part of in his career.

I-94 crash

The aftermath of a fiery crash on Interstate 94 near Kraut Road is shown Wednesday. Two people were killed, according to Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling. Courtesy Racine County Sheriff's Office

The Racine County Sheriff's Office, Wisconsin State Patrol and Mount Pleasant, Racine, Caledonia and Sturtevant police departments, Racine County Public Works crews and the Union Grove-Yorkville and Raymond fire and rescue departments were on the scene.

Numerous police departments from southeast Wisconsin were called to assist with traffic control as Interstate traffic was diverted. Among the departments assisting were units from Glendale, Shorewood, New Berlin, Muskego, Cudahy, West Allis, Franklin, Oak Creek and New Berlin.

Northbound traffic was detoured off of Highway 20, to Highway 31, to Highway 32, to Ryan Road.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Bruce K.'s Comment
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""We've been experiencing a lot of crashes," Schmaling said and advised motorists to slow down and be aware of other drivers. "It only takes one person to make one small error, and it has devastating effects, as we've seen today." Schmaling called the crash the worst he had ever been a part of in his career. "

I wish I could post the pictures from this crash. I've never seen anything this bad. Be careful out there, my friends.

G-Town's Comment
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Many of us have seen too many scenes like this; “the images forever etched on our cerebral firmware”.

Approach a construction zone much the same way a snow covered road is handled:

- Slow down and obey the posted speed limit. If it’s 45, do 45, not 50.

- Do not outdrive your sightline. Meaning if you can only see 200’ ahead, adjust (lower) your speed accordingly.

- Increase following distance.

- Monitor the CB, alert others of slowdowns or erratic behavior.

- “Spidy Senses” on full alert. Anticipate events and always think about an out plan that doesn’t include rolling over in a ditch.

Construction zones are dangerous and looked upon as a major inconvenience. Bad driving behavior by professionals and 4-wheelers is magnified and chronic.

Unfortunately summer time is construction season. Approach all of them with an elevated sense of caution and care. If needed for proper motivation and adjusted attitude; fear then! By design they are meant to protect workers and as a result reduce the amount of space a trucker has to work with. Even a minor mistake is going to be exacerbated, and far more devastating.

I don’t need another picture to be reminded of the sickening consequences. Be smart and drive defensively.

Safe travels.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rick S.'s Comment
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Schmaling said, "There's is no secret I-94 is under extreme construction," and that construction has caused several problems on the Interstate.

Extreme construction, eh?

A lot of time the lane shifts and positions of construction barriers make it difficult for even cars to make some of the shifts required. In many cases, the lanes on these zones aren't even wide enough to accommodate the full width of a set of tandems.

I'd say - if the construction zone is one of these really hairy ones - if it says 45 - DO 40.

Many construction zones (depending on the state) will have different speeds for cars & trucks. Aside from the obvious hazards to us and the other vehicles out there - there are PEOPLE working out there that can step or fall close to a traffic lane (or IN ONE), as well as these being HUGE SPEED TRAPS (for good safety reasons, but are also great sources of REVENUE).

Be HYPER AWARE, and BE SAFE...

Rick

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Rob D.'s Comment
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Tough decisions for professional drivers to make:

"By avoiding the crash of three individuals and a semi-tractor trailer that's already involved in a crash, and turning to avoid all that absolutely. I think this unfortunate deceased individual is a hero ... by turning down and risking his own life to avoid crashing into innocent people," Schmaling said.

WISN Article

G-Town's Comment
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Tough decisions for professional drivers to make:

double-quotes-start.png

"By avoiding the crash of three individuals and a semi-tractor trailer that's already involved in a crash, and turning to avoid all that absolutely. I think this unfortunate deceased individual is a hero ... by turning down and risking his own life to avoid crashing into innocent people," Schmaling said.

double-quotes-end.png

WISN Article

Please reread my reply and Rick’s. We teach having to avoid tough decisions like this one by being prepared and aware.

Per Rick’s suggestion; “Hyper Awareness” is the best way to describe an approach to all construction zones.

Bruce K.'s Comment
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"It only takes one person to make one small error, and it has devastating effects, as we've seen today."

I think the comment above is in line with what Rick and G-Town have said about this. And Rainy's experience avoiding the furniture spill disaster was a good example of driving in such a manner that you can deal with the unexpected and AVOID disaster.

Peter M.'s Comment
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Very sad

Rob D.'s Comment
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Please reread my reply and Rick’s. We teach having to avoid tough decisions like this one by being prepared and aware.

Per Rick’s suggestion; “Hyper Awareness” is the best way to describe an approach to all construction zones.

G-town. I fully understand.

Trust me, whether I comment on them or not, I take all of the comments from the moderators to heart. Probably especially yours because your sharp-edged comments slice through the delusions of the inexperienced like a hot scalpel through butter.

Jamie's Comment
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But let's not forget, anything can happen regardless of how prepared you are. But following the comments above will greatly reduce the chances.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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