UPDATED 2:35 PM -- At around 5:30 Monday morning, semi driver Andre Ellis saw four semi tractor-trailers piled up ahead of him on I-65, just before he put on the brakes to avoid them, but with the given conditions, he says the brakes just weren't enough.
"The ice was a phantom, and when you really need your tires to brake, I was unable to stop. As you can see, I had a relatively heavy load, and the only option I had other than running head-long into that, was to go for the embankment," said Ellis.
Ellis' tractor trailer slid down the embankment crashing on the adjacent entrance ramp. Ellis, with 25 years experience driving semis, says he's used to all kinds of road conditions, but it's the ones that don't appear all that bad at first that can cause accidents.
"I was in Jackson Mississippi last week when the roads were completely iced over when we had the ice storm last week, and I drove through that without incident... not that I'm saying I didn't use proper precautions, but this morning, it really truly was a phantom in the darkness, and with relatively little lighting on the highway, without any reflection, you really cannot tell," said Ellis.
Ellis' tractor trailer was totaled, but he escaped with only a scratch or two.
Sheriff Hopson says some of the other drivers were sent to the hospital with minor injuries, and says this wasn't the only wreck his department dealt with this morning.
"We've had alot of ice starting from the Tennessee line northbound, and always remember because air travels under the bridges, that they ice over first. That's the result of this accident , but we've had several accidents up and down through here," said Simpson County Sheriff Jere Hopson.
The semis had just passed over an overpass when they wrecked. Ellis and Hopson both advise others use caution while driving, even if they can't physically see those slick spots.
With the possibility of more wintery mix in tomorrow's forecast, those are some tips we can all certainly use.
North-bound traffic was at a stand still for a couple of hours after the accident, and traffic was detoured to 31-W during the cleanup, with some lanes re-opened by 8 a.m.
Slick roads lead to a pile-up on I-65 in Simpson County that left traffic behind it at a stand still for hours this morning.
The Simpson County sheriff says five semi tractor-trailers were involved in an accident at around 5:30a.m. The sheriff says four of them ran into each other, blocking the north-bound lanes. The fifth driver says he saw the pile-up ahead so he swerved to try to miss the others, causing him to run off the road just past the over-pass at exit six, before crashing on the nearby entrance ramp.
"The ice was a phantom and when you really need your tires to break, I was unable to stop. As you can see, I had a relatively heavy load, and the only option I had other than running head-long into that, was to go for the embankment," said semi tracotr trailer driver Andre Ellis.
Ellis escaped the accident with only minor scrapes. The sheriff told us some of the drivers of the other tractor trailers had minor injuries, and were transported to the hospital.
The wreck blocked all three north-bound lanes of the interstate behind exit 6, which had to be shut down for a few hours during cleanup. They began re-opening some lanes by 8a.m.
Ellis, with 25 years of semi tractor trailer driving experience, says he's used to dealing with slick roads, and even says he made it out of, Mississippi during last week's weather that crippled traffic in the southeast, without an issues. We'll have more from the Ellis and the Simpson County Sheriff on the slick roads and tips for drivers on WBKO at 5.
Northbound lanes on I-65 have now been re-opened.
UPDATED 7:40 AM -- We have received confirmation from the Simpson County Sheriff's Office that a total of 5 semi-trucks were involved in the accident, and there are only minor injuries to report. Officials say the I-65 northbound lanes will re-open shortly.
UPDATED 7:30 AM -- Photos from the scene added to gallery.
SIMPSON COUNTY, Ky. (WBKO) -- There has been an accident on I-65 North, near mile marker 6 in Simpson County, involving 3 semi-trucks according to the Kentucky Transportation cabinet.
All heading North on I-65 are advised to exit at Franklin and take an alternate route on 31 W.
Our Melissa Warren is on the way to the scene, and we will bring you more information as it becomes available.