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UPDATE: Teacher killed, 71 injured in 131-vehicle pileup on I-41 in Winnebago County

UPDATE: Teacher killed, 71 injured in 131-vehicle pileup on I-41 in Winnebago County


Updated: 4:00 p.m. February 25, 2019

NEENAH, Wis. (CBS 58/AP) -- Authorities have identified a 30-year-old teacher as the person killed in what is now being called the largest traffic crash in Wisconsin history. 

Winnebago County Sheriff John Matz on Monday identified Andrew Schefelker of Oshkosh as the victim of Sunday's 131-vehicle pileup on Interstate 41. Matz says Schefelker was a middle school/high school science teacher in the Iola-Scandinavia School District.

Seventy-one others were injured in the chain-reaction crash that happened in the Neenah area amid whiteout conditions. At the time of the crash, snow was blowing across I-41 and piling up on the median. The conditions were so bad that at one point, two deputies say they were standing 30 feet apart and couldn't see each other. 

Within two hours of the crash, deputies had everyone either diverted off the interstate, into a warming center, or at the hospital. 

"After the crashing stopped happening, we exercised our mass casualty plan. EMS and hospitals practice this plan and it was put into place and it worked well," said Sheriff Matz. 

The Sheriff's Office says the cars that were involved in the crash have been impounded. They have not released the cars yet because deputies still need to collect evidence from them. 


Updated: 7:05 a.m. February 25, 2019

NEENAH, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The southbound lanes of I-41 near Neenah are back open Monday after a 131-vehicle pileup on Sunday. 

One person died and another 71 people were injured. 

The interstate was shut down for more than 12 hours. Drivers and passengers from about 500 vehicles had to be evacuated with many being taken to local churches and hospitals. 

A Winnebago County deputy called it one of the worst crashes he's ever seen. 

"As you can tell by the list of hospitals involved, the EMS services were so taxed that we actually had to access Green Bay which is unheard of in my career, said Chief Deputy Todd Christopherson with the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office.  

The Red Cross assited those in need with housing and food. Local law enforcement also helped those stratned get hotel rooms to stay overnight. 


Updated: 9:12 p.m. February 24, 2019

NEENAH, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Emergency officials gave an update on the massive deadly pileup Sunday night. 

In total, 131 vehicles were involved.

One person died in the chain reaction crash that resulted in 71 people going to the hospital. 

As of 9 p.m. five people remain in the hospitals.

Anyone seeking information about a loved one they think might be involved in the crash can call 920-236-7510.


Updated: 6:10 p.m. February 24, 2019

NEENAH, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Gold Cross Ambulance responded to the massive 100+ car pileup on I-41 late Sunday morning and says they took 38 patients to Fox Valley hospitals. 

According to Gold Cross, ten fire departments responded to the crash and buses responded to take patients to a secondary triage site. 

People with injuries were taken to six different area hospitals. 

A victim reunification site has been created at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church on Tullar Road in Neenah.

I-41 remains closed.


Posted: 2:55 p.m. February 24, 2019

NEENAH, Wis. (CBS 58) -- One person is dead and a number of people injured following a multi vehicle accident that included at least 100 vehicles in Winnebago County Sunday morning.   

According to the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office, the injured people have been taken to six different hospitals for treatment of their injuries. The Sheriff’s Office says all other people involved in the accident have been safely taken to several warming locations.

The accident happened just after 11 a.m. Sunday morning on south bound I-41 near Winnebago County Road G. At a news conference Sunday afternoon, the Winnebago County Chief Deputy Todd Christopherson said that more than 100 vehicles were involved in the accident. Christopherson called the incident a chain reaction accident. He said there were white out conditions in the area at the time of the crash.

I-41 south has been shut down and is expected to stay closed until around 10 p.m. Sunday night. The detour is from Highway 10 west bound to Highway 45 south.

The Winnebago County Sheriff's office has established an information line for people looking for information about loved ones possibly involved in the accident. The Sheriff Office is also looking for additional information about the crash. The telephone number is 920-236-7459.  

Travel is not advised in the county. Sheriff’s Deputies report that driving is treacherous with white-out conditions county wide.  

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daffjeri 286 days ago
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BjornyHage 286 days ago
Ummmmmm..........whose hands are on the wheel and whose brains are disconnected here? Not DMV or the cops. We are on a slippery slope of giving away our power. Computers are not the answer and it is madness to keep allowing them to do our job. Smart phones + smart cars always = the dumbing down of us. We seem to have no survival instincts. We are truckers. Truckers used to have to think ahead; same thing I taught my kids when they learned to drive. I implore you all, gentle readers, take back control of your lives. These tragedies are self induced because we have given up control. Thanks
TimothyLangin BjornyHage 286 days ago
While I don't totally disagree with you conditions were extremely bad especially for us truckers I shut down yesterday because my trailer was so light that it barely stayed behind me with the wind and ice.
I agree, technology provides a false sense of security.
BjornyHage TimothyLangin 286 days ago
Tim, this is what I mean. Professional truckers use judgement, like you did. Car drivers need to put themselves in charge of their own safety too. Just saw a cartoon showing "the little engine that could". It was referring to a childs story about a little train engine that just wouldn't give up. But this cartoon had a Dr. Spock raised little engine. It was stopped at the bottom of a hill and calling for its mommy to help it. Think it refers to our generation. Tragedies like this ARE preventable. If you ain't out there, you can't get hurt.
Ken 286 days ago
I blame the dmv for not training motorists correctly and law enforcement for not doing their jobs
Shutupken Ken 286 days ago
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GailBockayHolcomb Ken 286 days ago
I don't think any training can help a person through a total whiteout as these cars experienced. Other than taking heed of the announcements to stay off the roads, or closing the gates on the on ramps to shut down dangerous stretches of highway.
AgreedShutUpKen Shutupken 286 days ago
I agree with Shutupken, Shut up Ken.
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