MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Two motorists remained in critical condition Thursday following one of the largest chain-reaction accidents ever investigated by the West Virginia state police.
The Wednesday morning pile-up—which occurred amid a snow squall whiteout— involved 40 vehicles on Interstate 81 in Berkeley County, killing two motorists and injured 12 others.
There were approximately 30 vehicles involved in the northbound crash at the 21-mile marker north of Martinsburg near Falling Waters. There was also a 10 vehicle pile-up in the southbound lanes nearby.
State police Captain E.D. Widmeyer identified the victims as Mitchell Dobbins, 65, of Hagerstown, Md., and a 74-year-old woman from Canada. Troopers were still waiting on word that her family had been notified.
Widmeyer said at approximately 8:45 a.m. a narrow squall created zero visibility. He said there was no sign of snow one mile on either side of the wrecks. The squall moved west and seven minutes after the Berkeley County wrecks there was a 15-vehicle crash on Interstate 70 in Maryland.
Two of the remaining 12 injured motorists in the I-81 crashes are in “very critical” condition, Widmeyer said. One was in a Baltimore hospital and the other in Fairfax, Va.
A state police accident reconstructionist was brought in to serve as the lead investigator. Police records show the accident was one of the largest in state history.