MILWAUKEE, WI – The Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s traffic cameras captured the frightening massive pileup that happened on Highway 41/45 near Lannon Rd. around noon on Sunday, December 8th.
As midday traffic slowed on the snow-covered Highway 45 at the height of Sunday’s storm, a DOT traffic camera captured the first vehicles spinning out of control, slamming into stopped cars.
Moments later, as the chain reaction claims more vehicles, several drivers get out and stand on the highway, forcing one vehicle to slide off the road and through a fence to avoid hitting them.
Germantown police officer Tim Miller was responding to another crash at the time when he witnessed driver after driver heading toward the pile-up. “I’d see them go southbound and I’d see their tail lights disappear into the snow and then, all of a sudden, I’d see their brake lights come on and I’d see the brake lights jump up or go off to the side or spin and you knew it was just happening and I’m watching these other people come southbound and I just knew they were gettin’ into an accident.”
Everyone survived that crash, but that was not the case just a few miles away on the same highway near Menominee Falls, where one person was killed in a pile-up involving dozens of vehicles.
The two wrecks sent scores of 911 calls pouring into Waukesha County’s Emergency Communications Center.
Dispatch Supervisor Christine Bannister was on duty as those calls rang in nearly non-stop. “We’re watching and listening and trying not to duplicate calls so the dispatchers aren’t overwhelmed.”
Those dispatchers are now getting their first look at the terrifying scene that 911 callers were describing to them.