FAIRFIELD, Conn. — A massive 10-vehicle chain-reaction pileup occurred as drivers swerved to try to avoid a light pole that was knocked onto I-95 in Fairfield in a previous crash early Tuesday, state police said.
Tom Barberino, 44, of Greenwich, was taken to Bridgeport Hospital with serious injuries after his Hyundai Sonata became wedged under a tractor-trailer as part of the crash, state police said.
The crash occurred at about 1:15 a.m. on I-95 north near Exit 19, state police said.
The crash began when a tractor-trailer drove over a metal guardrail, onto the grass shoulder and hit a light pole, state police said. The pole then hit another truck and fell across all three lanes of I-95, according to state police.
Another tractor-trailer hit the pole in the highway, as did six passenger cars, all of which pulled over to the shoulder, state police said.
Then another tractor-trailer hit the light pole, lodged the pole underneath the truck, state police said.
Another tractor-trailer stopped and pulled over without hitting the pole. But when Barberino tried to avoid the pole, he lost control and struck the back of one of the truck's trailers, state police said.
Fairfield Assistant Fire Chief Erik Kalapir said a crew of 17 Fairfield firefighters undertook a labor-intensive operation to free Barberino from the car.
Firefighters, under the direction of Lts. Eric McKeon and Rodger Caisse, used pneumatic struts and air bags to lift the box trailer, while at the same time compressing the suspension of the pinned vehicle, Kalapir said.
A grip-hoist was used to remove the car from under the box trailer, he said.
Only then could the driver be removed from the car, using hydraulic cutting and spreading tools, Kalapir said.
American Medical Response provided medical treatment and transported Barberino to Bridgeport Hospital with serious injuries, Kalapir said.
A driver from a tractor-trailer was also transported to the hospital for treatment and evaluation.
Connecticut State Police and Department of Transportation crews remained on the scene to investigate the crash and clear the scene.
I-95 north was closed for hours while emergency crews worked to free the drive and clean up the scene.
The highway then remained closed after 5 a.m. as a highway travel ban went into effect due to the blizzard.
The accident, which occurred before it began snowing, remains under investigation, state police said.