Teen Killed, 24 Injured in Snowy New York Pileup

A teenage girl was killed and at least 24 others were injured following a 36-car accident Sunday afternoon.


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GATES, N.Y. -- A teenage girl was killed and at least 24 others were injured following a 36-car accident Sunday afternoon on I-390 South near the runway of the Greater Rochester International Airport.

Police said Le Ngo, a 17-year-old girl, a driver of one of the cars, died at Strong Memorial Hospital.

The Rochester City School District said that Ngo was an 11th grade student at The School of the Arts. Counselors will be available for students and staff at the school.

Police shut down southbound traffic and the exit for several hours. The road has since reopened.

Police say that whiteout conditions in the area caused the accident. High winds blowing across the area created the conditions, with blowing and drifting snow.

State Police said there would be no arrests or citations issued. Dozens of Injuries

There were also reports of multiple injuries. At least 24 people were taken to area hospitals.

As of Monday morning, Lyubov Klepanchuk, 18, is in guarded condition at Strong. The hospital said it also has two patients in satisfactory condition and two under evaluation. Three people were treated and released.

Three people were taken to Highland Hospital, and 12 people were taken to Unity Hospital. All patients at those hospitals have been treated and released. Size of Accident Shocks Rescuers

Through howling winds and gusting snow, rescue workers searched for the injured. Snow covered the cars piled on top of each other.

More than 60 workers from four fire crews and 23 ambulance crews assisted in the rescue.

Those who were not injured in the crash waited inside buses that happened by to keep out of the cold and tried to comprehend what happened.

Michael Peterson said, "This blue car, she slammed into me, she's OK. Another car--pow--hit another car ... It was like an LA movie, we just saw cars behind cars just start blowing each other up."

Cheryl Leblanc said, "I couldn't see anything, it was like bumper cars, everyone was all over the place, trying to avoid each other."

The size and scope of the accident shocked even the most experienced rescue workers.

Gates Fire Chief Jim Harrington said, "I've been in Gates for about 32 years and this is one of the most severe accidents we've ever had on any of the interstate highways we cover here."

Republished with permission of WHAM-TV.