I-90 reopened after crashes cleaned up


MISSOULA, Mont. - Both sides of I-90 have been reopened in the Missoula area after more than a dozen vehicles crashed or slid off the highway.

By 2 p.m. Friday, Montana Highway Patrol had responded to 28 crashes in the Missoula area. There were no fatalities but several injuries.

It all began around 11 a.m., when emergency crews responded to reports of an overturned pickup at the eastbound Van Buren St. exit in Missoula. The calls then kept coming in as semitrucks jackknifed and cars slid off the highway and into each other.

The driver of the overturned truck that crashed into the guardrail and exit sign at Van Buren Street eastbound had to be cut out of the wreck. Our reporter on scene saw him walking and he appeared alert.

Our crews also witnessed several sand trucks treating the highway in the area after the crashes had happened. The snow was heavy in Missoula around 11 a.m. when the crashes began being reported.

NBC Montana talked with a couple travelers getting gas in Missoula.

Craig Hughes was on his way from Salt Lake City to Canada.

"I narrowly avoided getting into a pileup," said Hughes, "everybody slammed on their brakes, and there were five or six cars off the road."

Andrew Sheffield is moving from Texas to Washington in a U-Haul.

"I was coming down the hill," said Sheffield, "and there was a huge pileup of stopped cars. I tried to stop this thing and I spun around twice, and almost hit three light poles."

Missoula Highway Patrol Sergeant Chad Dever reminds everyone to slow down.

Drivers are even speeding by accidents, said Dever, which also puts law enforcement at risk. He said it is extremely fortunate there haven't been any fatalities yet.