A massive 30-vehicle pileup on Yellowstone River Bridge in Billings, Montana, critically injured two people Saturday, authorities said.
The people jumped from the bridge to avoid being hit by a car, the Montana Highway Patrol tweeted. Both were hospitalized and are expected to recover. Minor injuries were also reported but no deaths.
“I would say this is the largest pileup, and winter-time accident, that I’ve seen in my nearly 20 years with the fire department,” Billings Fire Chief Jason Lyon told the Billings Gazette.
State Justice Department communications director Kyler Nerison said the cause of the multivehicle crash was the “whiteout/zero visibility conditions brought on by a sudden snow squall.”
The lane on westbound I-90 where the incident occurred was closed until about 4:30 p.m. while troopers investigated, Nerison said.
Bella Contreraz told the Gazette that she slammed on her brakes when she saw vehicles stopped ahead of her. An oncoming semi-truck struck her car soon after, pinning her to the side of the bridge. A driver nearby helped her escape by prying open her door, she said.
“It was like bumper cars,” Contreraz said.
The National Weather Service in Billings issued a statement Saturday about heavy snow showers in the area, warning drivers that I-90 would be affected and that there would most likely be slick road conditions and reductions in visibility.