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CT State Police remind drivers to take winter conditions seriously after weekend pile-up

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MIDDLETOWN -- "This is certainly the largest crash , with the number of vehicles that I've ever responded to my sixteen plus years with the state."

TFC. Vincent Gogluicci was one of the first responders to a massive crash Saturday. He said the scene on I-91 South, which was closed for approximately six hours on Saturday around 12:17 p.m. after a massive multi-vehicle pile up, should serve as a warning to drivers this winter.

"People often underestimate just how bad the roads are and how much of an effect weather has on the road conditions," said Gogluicci. "I think it's important that people stay home unless they absolutely have to go out of their houses."

Approximately 26 vehicles and four tractor trailers were involved in the accident that affected Exits 20-25 near Middletown.

"Visibility was poor," said Gogluicci, one of the first state police troopers on scene. "Maybe 50 feet or so and it was very difficult to see the cars that were stopped ahead of you."

The Cromwell fire department along with the towns of Rocky Hill and Westfield responded to the crash Saturday afternoon says Cromwell Fire Chief Michael Terenzio. He said there was a significant crash, along with additional separate simultaneous motor vehicle accidents on both sides of I-91.

The trucks included a tanker truck, a flatbed, a car carrier truck, and a box freight truck. The saddle tank on one of the trucks was struck and dumped approximately 125 gallons of diesel. Environmental officials and a clean up company were on the scene to address the spill.

Chief Terenzio says the degree of the vehicle involvement ranged from serious to minor. Four extrications were needed for some of the cars, while other occupants from other cars were able to leave on their own.

30 people were transported to local area hospitals with minor injuries.

The cab section of one of the tractor trailers involved was hanging over the embankment of the Mattabassett River Bridge and needed to be stabilized.

Other accidents north of the main accident in Rocky Hill involved two vehicles off the roadway and into the wooded areas next to the highway.

"Oh my God I'd never seen anything like this, ever," said Michael Bagley, owner of D&M Recovery and Transportation.