NSP identifies man killed in I-80 20+ vehicle pileup

Published: Apr. 29, 2018 at 9:51 PM CDT
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The name of the man killed in Sunday's pileup on Interstate 80 has been identified.

The Nebraska State Patrol says the crash claimed the life of Franklin Owens, 81, of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Owens had been traveling with his wife, Betty Owens, in a 2014 Toyota SUV. He was life-flighted to Bryan Health West in Lincoln where he was pronounced deceased.

Betty Owens, 68, also suffered serious injuries and has been transported to Bryan Health West.

The crash happened at approximately 5:15 p.m. Sunday, April 29, as high winds kicked up dust from nearby fields and caused zero-visibility conditions. Nearly 30 vehicles were involved. All other injuries are believed to be non-life-threatening.

I-80 was closed for more than two hours in both directions. Deputies from the Hall, Hamilton, and York County Sheriff’s Offices, as well as multiple rescue crews assisted in the response and traffic control.

The investigation into the crash is ongoing.

After several more accidents Monday, the Nebraska State Patrol says Interstate 80 is open again in both directions, but is restricted to one lane for now near Mile Marker 373 because of accidents.

Troopers advise drivers still use caution, as many troopers, deputies, tow operators and others are working the scene.

Interstate 80 had been closed between Mile Marker 366 (Utica) and Mile Marker 379 (Seward) due to multi-vehicle injury accidents and low visibility in the area, according to the Nebraska State Patrol.

The Seward County Sheriff's Office says a preliminary investigation shows that six semi tractor trailers and several passenger cars were involved in the pile up. A spokesman for the Nebraska State Patrol said troopers had reports of 11 vehicles involved in the accidents.

Interstate 80 was closed in both directions for nearly four hours as crews worked diligently to assist injured motorists and clear the roadway. Westbound I-80 traffic was diverted at the Seward Exit

(379) and re-routed onto Highway 34. Eastbound I-80 was diverted at the Utica Exit (366) and also re-routed onto Highway 34.

Multiple injuries were sustained in the crash, the Seward County Sheriff's Office said. Several motorist were transported to the Seward Memorial Hospital. Star Care life flight also assisted in the transport of two injured motorist.

All injured parties are believed to have non-life threatening injuries.

Details are still limited, and more information will be provided when it becomes available.

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