Cars Towed After Massive Pile-up on I-290 in Worcester, Mass. - NECN

Cars Towed After Massive Pile-up on I-290 in Worcester, Mass.



    Cars towed after massive pile-up on I-290 in Worcester, Mass.

    65 vehicles were towed off busy highway Sunday; 35 people were hospitalized (Published Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014)

    (NECN: Kristen Carosa) - John Stapelfeld of Hudson, Mass. had to abandon his car on I-290 in Worcester Sunday after a massive car crash. Monday, he came to pick it up at a tow yard in Millbury.

    "You just couldn't stop," said Stapelfeld. "Most cars were sliding 80 - 90 - 100 feet or further."

    He calls himself lucky - he wasn't hurt, but 35 people were taken to the hospital; two were seriously injured.

    Sixty-five cars, including two tractor trailers, had to be towed from the highway.

    "I am fortunate," said Stapelfeld. "There were a lot of other cars with bad damage."

    Twenty-five cars are sitting at the Direnzo tow lot, most of them totaled.

    "This is my first time in an accident this big. This was a lot of vehicles," said Tom Gerolomo of Direnzo's Towing. "You just don't see things like this here - I think the temperature changes so quick that this just happened."

    According to Massachusetts State Police, the investigation into the crash is ongoing.

    The Department of Transportation says crews had been pre-treating roads in Worcester County since approximately 2:30 a.m. The combination of a heavily traveled roadway, the storm's fast arrival and the elevated portion of 290 all contributed in reducing the effectiveness of the road treatment.

    "Fire, EMS and tow companies - everybody worked together to get the road clear," said Gerolomo.

    The phones haven't stopped ringing at Fuller Auto Repair in Auburn.

    President Josh Fuller has been helping several of the affected drivers - some out of state that were traveling through for the holidays.

    "We have been on the phone non-stop, just trying to take care of questions - specifically for those out of state," said Fuller. "They want to know how their cars look. 'How bad is it - is it totaled?'"

    Back in Millbury, Stapelfeld was able to drive his car away - something that he feels fortunate to be able to do.

    "I haven't been in an accident in quite a while," he said. "I hope this will do for a long time."