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Five crashes in four hours

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Rush-hour drivers gridlocked in search of alternate routes as I-71 northbound, southbound close

By Tracy Harris

While Oldham County may be a great place to live, work and play, it was certainly not a good place to drive Tuesday morning.

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Five unrelated vehicle crashes occurred across the county in less than four hours, including several injuries.

The first wreck proved to be the most serious, with four people transported to local hospitals.

Kevin Nuss, Oldham County Emergency Management Director, said local dispatchers received their first call just after 4 a.m.

Nuss said a car traveling southbound on I-71 left the road, over-corrected and came to a stop facing the wrong direction

Heavy fog lowered visibility and a pickup truck hit the car head-on, Nuss said. Both cars overturned and passengers were ejected.

According to police, three adults and one child were passengers in one of the vehicles and were rushed to hospitals by ambulance.

Their conditions were not available at press time, but Nuss said he did not believe any to be life-threatening.

Crews called a rescue helicopter to transport the victims but the fog prevented air assistance.

The sole occupant of the pickup truck was not injured.

As crews worked that crash, dispatch received two more calls, both around 5:12 a.m., Nuss said.

A tractor-trailer was stuck on the tracks at Railroad Avenue – not an uncommon occurrence but an unwelcome one as drivers looked for alternate routes to avoid I-71.

Nearby, another tractor-trailer left the roadway near the Crestwood Dairy Queen, knocking down a utility pole and several mailboxes. The vehicle left tire tracks in the mud for about 140 feet. The crash closed Ky. 22 until 8 a.m. Tuesday.

The headaches continued when another tractor-trailer left the road just before 7 a.m., this one on I-71 southbound near mile marker 23. 

The semi went into the ditch and tipped over, coming to rest against an embankment. 

However, with the vehicle out of the roadway and no injuries to the driver, police decided to leave the semi in place until after rush hour. 

Crews closed one lane of I-71 at 9 a.m. to remove the semi, reopening both lanes around 10:30 a.m.

Reverse commuters weren’t spared, either, with a crash on I-71 northbound at 7:30 a.m., near mile marker 11. There were no injuries and one lane remained open as crews cleaned up the area. Both lanes opened around 8:15 a.m.

Oldham County residents — a group used to rush-hour wrecks on I-71 southbound — reported commutes more than twice as long as usual.

Eddie Ormerod said his usual 25-minute drive from Crestwood to Crescent Hill took 90 minutes.

La Grange resident Dan Bell said he eventually gave up — after leaving his home around 6:45 a.m., he was at a standstill in Crestwood at 7:20 a.m. 

Hoping to detour through Prospect, he found himself facing a “wall of brake lights” on Ky. 329 before turning around and heading back to La Grange.

Dispatchers said traffic was “back to normal” around 11 a.m.