MOUNT GILEAD — All lanes of Interstate-71 in Morrow County are open again after a multi-vehicle crash blamed on a snow squall.
The closure was reported shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday in the northbound lanes of I-71 past State Route 95 at mile marker 155. There were also crashes reported in the southbound lanes.
The Mount Gilead Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating the crash involving 81 vehicles, including 11 commercial motor vehicles.
There was a heavy snow front in this area at the time causing limited to no visibility, the Patrol said.
Due to the crash, Interstate 71 northbound was closed at State Route 95. Traffic was diverted onto State Route 95 to State Route 13.
There were non-life threatening injuries sustained during the crash.
The Patrol was assisted by Mount Gilead Fire, Morrow County EMS, Morrow County Sheriff’s Office and Johnsville Fire Department.
The crash remains under investigation.
All northbound lanes from Route 95 north were closed for three hours before one of three lanes was opened shortly before 7 p.m., said Nancy Burton, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Transportation.
Mostly minor injuries were reported, but the total number of injuries is unknown. Several tractor-trailers were involved, with one resting against a guardrail.
Among the motorists traveling on I-71 was a bus carrying the Ohio State University wrestling team heading to Cleveland for the NCAA tournament.
Head coach Tom Ryan thanked Morrow County Sheriff John Hinton for helping re-route the team bus.
“Zach Steiner our 174/184-pounder and Jaimen Hood were both in the accident. They are both OK as are all the others in the major pile-up. Officer John Hinton saw Zach was wearing an Ohio State wrestling sweatshirt and asked where he was going. Steiner told officer Hinton that the team bus was stuck in traffic on its way to NCAA’s,” Ryan said via a Facebook post.
“Officer Hinton helped our bus get off the highway and assisted us with another route around the accident.”
The team arrived about 8 p.m. and will take on Penn State Thursday.
Jimbo’s Chicken Shack, a new restaurant on State Route 95 just off I-71, provided food for first responders.
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