Driver Able To Pull Over After Being Struck In I-35W Pileup Pulled 1 Person To Safety, Couldn’t Save Other

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM)Six people were killed and dozens of others injured in the pile-up on I-35W in Fort Worth Thursday morning.

Drivers headed to work early say conditions on the highway seemed okay until they got close to 28th Street.

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“Right at that bridge over the Trinity River, and it’s just mass pandemonium on my side of the road,” said Ryan Chaney, who was driving in the regular lanes of I-35W.

He says he got hit by a car sliding on the ice, and pulled over near the guardrail.

When he was talking with the people in the other car, he saw the start of what became a 133-car wreck in the toll lanes.

“I hear a car hit the barrier and it made me jump,” Chaney said. “And then another car hit that car, and then a semi-truck. You could hear people screaming and then a second later, their screams get muffled by another crash.”

Chaney says he started checking on people trapped in their cars, even breaking an SUV window to pull one driver to safety.

But he’s haunted by the woman he couldn’t get to before a Fed Ex truck crashed into the pile.

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“I saw the truck coming into the air,” he said. “There’s a truck to the right of me, and I dived underneath the trailer. She was crushed to death by the vehicles falling on her.”

A total of 65 people, all adults, were injured in the crash, included a large number of frontline healthcare workers who were heading to Fort Worth hospitals to start their shifts.

“Which to be quite frank, made it a little more stressful for us because in those cases, our folks would know those folks,” said Matt Zavadsky with MedStar.

Those who survived the massive pile-up are still processing what happened.

“Everybody around my little section walked away,” said Michael Howard, who says he purposely crashed his truck into the guardrail to lessen the impact on others. “Everybody was shook up, but everybody walked away. That’s awesome, because you never know.”

His is just one of the many lives changed forever by the horrific scene.

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“That pain is just incredible,” said Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. “This whole community will feel that pain. They need your love. They need your prayers to get through this.”

CBS Dallas / Fort Worth