UPDATE: Island Park crashes involved around 40 vehicles, only minor injuries
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Idaho State Police say the massive multi-vehicle crash in Island Park on Friday was caused by a semi-truck hitting a passenger car that was stopped due to low visibility in the eastbound lane of U.S. Highway 20.
The crash occurred at about 3 p.m. just north of Island Park.
Multiple subsequent crashes occurred behind the semi-truck, involving approximately 40 vehicles. Thankfully, only minor injuries were reported.
Idaho State Police was assisted by agencies in Idaho: Fremont County Sheriff’s Office, Fremont County Search and Rescue, Madison County Sheriff’s Office, and Idaho Transportation Department; and agencies in Montana: West Yellowstone Police Department, Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, and Madison County Sheriff’s Office. Several tow companies from Idaho and Montana responded to assist in removing vehicles from the roadway.
US-20 was reopened to travelers as of 8:30 a.m. Saturday.
ISLAND PARK — Emergency crews spent hours battling severe weather conditions that caused crashes involving 20-30 vehicles on US Highway 20 in Island Park Friday.
The chaos began around 3:30 p.m. near Henry’s Lake Flats when blowing snow resulted in whiteout conditions. The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office, Idaho State Police and multiple other agencies were called to the area as stranded drivers on the extremely slick highway were stuck in their vehicles.
As of 8:45 p.m., it was unclear how many people were injured but video and photos shared with EastIdahoNews.com show at least one semi-truck, a snowplow and many other vehicles were lined up along the highway.
“How bad is it in Island Park? ISP and Fremont County first responders are still working on clearing up a multi-vehicle crash in the area of US20 MP 397,” ISP tweeted around 8:15 p.m. Friday. “They have been braving the hazardous conditions for the past 5 hours.”
Highway 20 and Highway 87 remain closed from Island Park to the Montana State Line.
Montana agencies assisting in the incident include Madison and Gallatin County, along with West Yellowstone Police. In Idaho, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, Fremont County Search and Rescue, Island Park Ambulance, Madison County Ambulance, North Fremont Fire Department and Ashton Police.
“It’s going to be a long night,” another ISP tweet said. “We express gratitude to our snow plow drivers and tow truck drivers who are out there with us.”
EastIdahoNews.com will update this story as more information becomes available.
The following are photos from the scene.