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VSP continues investigation into multi-vehicle crash on I-89 in Milton






Vermont State Police continues investigation into multi-vehicle crash on I-89 in Milton


MILTON, Vermont (Friday, March 4, 2022) — The Vermont State Police continues its investigation into the multi-car pileup with fatality resulting that occurred one week ago today on Interstate 89 in the town of Milton. 


Vermont State Police historians have researched this incident and determined it likely is the largest motor vehicle crash in Vermont history. To date, 36 vehicles have been identified as being directly involved in the crash. Roughly another 20 vehicles required a pull-back from a wrecker company after driving off the road to avoid collisions occurring in front of them; none of these 20 vehicles sustained damage.


The Vermont State Police is continuing to compile a comprehensive list of all operators and vehicles involved and plans to release that information as the investigation continues. 


With a collaborative effort, the following agencies were identified as responding to the incident and providing considerable assistance in cleaning up the crash scene and re-opening the highway within about nine hours of the unprecedented event:


  • Vermont state troopers from multiple barracks to include the Crash Reconstruction Team and drug recognition experts.

  • Vermont Agency of Transportation.

  • Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles.

  • Amcare.

  • Colchester Rescue.

  • Colchester Fire Department.

  • Colchester Police Department.

  • Essex Rescue.

  • Franklin County Sheriff’s Department.

  • Georgia Fire Department.

  • Milton Fire Department.

  • Milton Rescue.

  • Milton Police Department.

  • Williston Police Department.


In addition, multiple wrecker companies responded and cleared vehicles from the snow- and ice-covered road, shoulder and median:


  • Bates.

  • Benoit.

  • TDI.

  • Mcrae.

  • Poissant.

  • Spillane’s.

  • Stones.

  • Thompson.

  • Townline.


This investigation remains active, and troopers continue to gather information, speak with those involved and review photos and videos. VSP will provide additional updates as the investigation unfolds.


Several additional photos from the crash scene are available at this link.




***Update No. 2, 1:10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022***

Interstate 89 northbound in Milton re-opened at about 12:45 a.m. Saturday, nearly nine hours after a multi-vehicle crash occurred during heavy snow Friday afternoon.


Crews from the Vermont State Police, the Agency of Transportation, numerous first response agencies and wrecker services worked together to clear the interstate between exits 17 and 18 and to ensure the roadway was safe for the resumption of vehicular traffic. Both northbound lanes were closed after the crash was reported shortly before 4 p.m. Friday.


The man who was killed in the crash is identified as Stephen Ahearn, 44, of Highgate.


VSP’s investigation into the cause and circumstances of the incident remains ongoing. Updates will follow when additional details can be released.



***Update No. 1, 10:20 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25, 2022***

Crash investigation and cleanup operations are continuing tonight following a multi-vehicle pileup Friday afternoon that closed Interstate 89 northbound in Milton.


One person, an adult man from northwestern Vermont, was killed in the crash. Seven other people were transported by ambulance to the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington for treatment of minor to moderate injuries, none of which are believed to be life-threatening. The identity of the man who died will be released following notification of next of kin.


As of 10:20 p.m., the northbound lanes of I-89 remain closed at Exit 17, the Milton/Lake Champlain Islands exit, as police continue investigating the crash, and crews including multiple wreckers remove vehicles from the interstate. Northbound traffic is being diverted to U.S. Route 7. The road closure is expected to continue for about another hour.


The crash scene covers an extensive area and involved about 30 vehicles, including several tractor-trailers and fully loaded log trucks, in a cascading scenario of multiple crashes and vehicles driving into the median and off the shoulder of the highway. More than 100 other vehicles were stuck north of Exit 17 but prior to the crash scene, which rendered the interstate impassable. Vermont state troopers and wrecker crews helped drivers whose vehicles remained operable to turn around and drive safely south in the closed northbound lanes back to Exit 17. Other vehicles were being towed away.


The investigation into what occurred is expected to take a significant amount of time. Police encourage anyone who was involved in the crash and has yet to speak to investigators, and those who might have information that could assist VSP, to call the Williston Barracks at 802-878-7111.


VSP will provide further updates as new information becomes available.



***Initial news release, 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25, 2022***

Troopers from the Vermont State Police, along with multiple fire and rescue crews, have responded to a multi-vehicle crash on Interstate 89 northbound in Milton. The crash occurred at about 4 p.m. in the vicinity of mile marker 100, which is just north of Exit 17. Approximately 30 vehicles were involved in the crash.


There is one confirmed fatality. Other injuries appear to be minor or moderate. The number of people and the exact number of vehicles involved are still being ascertained by investigators on the scene. The interstate’s northbound lanes are closed at Exit 17, and traffic is being diverted. Members of the public should seek alternate routes and avoid the area.


The crash occurred during heavy snowfall and blowing snow, and the road was snow-covered and icy at the time. The investigation into the cause of the crash is in its preliminary stages. Troopers from the St. Albans and Williston barracks responded to the crash. Members of the Vermont State Police Crash Reconstruction Team have arrived on scene to perform their investigation. The road is expected to remain closed for an extended period.


The Vermont State Police public information officer, Adam Silverman, is en route to the scene. Members of the media can meet Silverman outside the Maplefields store at Exit 17 at about 7 p.m. for an on-camera update, though information at this time remains preliminary.


Further information will be released as soon as additional details become available.


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