State Patrol: Semi struck tow truck, causing 24-vehicle chain-reaction crash near Janesville

JANESVILLE -- Twenty vehicles and four semis were involved in a chain-reaction crash during a snowstorm Sunday afternoon, Feb. 9. Officials with the Wisconsin State Patrol said it happened when the driver of a semi struck a tow truck as the tow operator was working to clear an initial crash.

It happened shortly before 2 p.m. on I-39/90 northbound at Mile Marker 167, north of Janesville.

Officials with the Wisconsin State Patrol said when the semi struck the tow truck, the impact pushed the tow truck into the operator -- and this second crash blocked I-39/90 northbound.

A series of crashes followed.

The northbound lanes of I-39/90 had to be closed for approximately four hours.

Officials with the Wisconsin State Patrol, Rock County Sheriff's Office, Janesville Police Department, Janesville Fire Department, local fire and EMS, the Rock County Highway Department and several local towing companies worked together to clear the roadway during the storm -- getting the northbound lanes moving again around 5:30 p.m. The remaining vehicles were cleared about an hour later when all northbound I-39/99 lanes were completely open again.

Throughout the entire incident, two injuries were reported, and officials said they were not life-threatening.