AUSTIN, Texas - First responders with Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services and the Austin Fire Department responded to a 26 car pile-up on SH 45 earlier today. 32 people were involved in the crash and five had to be transported to local hospitals.
Drivers had been asked to avoid the area and to seek alternate routes.
According to ATCEMS, the multi-vehicle crash happened on an overpass in the 13600-13800 block of eastbound SH 45. Five people were transported to St. David's Round Rock Medical Center, at least one person has been transported as a trauma alert.
Among the 32 people caught up in the crash was a friend of Susan Scoggins. "He called and said he was in a bad accident that the car is totaled. He thinks he is fine and he will call me back. But you cant find him? Cannot find him. And that's the scary part? Yes," she said.
Five people were transported to the hospital, with one classified as a trauma injury. Ghazi Heikal, the driver of a white pick-up at the very back of the pile-up, says the incident has left him shaken. "It was nice and smooth, and then there as a vehicle, a small one, passed me and she passed me and just slammed into the median, the wall, and that's when everybody else right behind her just started piling up and hit it," said Heikal.
He avoided being hurt because of luck and help from one of the first crash victims. "There was a pile-up right there in front of my car and a lady came out of her car and was waving at me stop stop stop, and I had to put it in park and just parked it I couldn't go anywhere and I guess that was my guardian angel," said Heikal.
Another guardian angel was an individual who drove up on the accident scene. Mark Evangelos spoke to FOX7 by phone and said he went to the aid of a man who apparently had been knocked off the ramp and onto the road below. "And I look straight ahead of me and I see a guy lying on the ground. And I go, Oh my goodness. And I said I'm going to stop, I'm going to be the Samaritan," said Evangelos.
As traffic started to back up near the ramp, Evangelos said he comforted the man who could barely move, but was alert. "And I said what can I do to help you sir, and he said, Oh call 911 some I call 911 and just before I got through I looked in back of me and the fire trucks are there. And I said, Sir, the fire trucks are here, and he says, can you get my phone, so I went over and got his phone which was 10 feet away from him," he said.
Emergency teams had a difficult time reaching all the victims. Buckets of de-icer were spread by hand. However, slipping wasn't the only danger, as the ice storm also brought lightning.
CapMetro brought in buses to help provide shelter and warmth.
Despite all the challenges, the vehicles were eventually pulled apart by a fleet of tow trucks and the ramp was cleared. Later Thursday evening, another multi-vehicle wreck took place at the same spot. At least six vehicles were involved and three people were taken to local hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries.
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