Multiple wrecks on I-24 lead to two deaths, back up traffic for hours
PADUCAH — Two people died in a four-vehicle wreck this afternoon in traffic snarled due to an earlier crash on the I-24 bridge over the Ohio River.
A preliminary investigation showed James M. Hoerman, 60, of Antigo, Wisconsin, was driving a 2000 Freightliner west in the outside lane when he approached traffic stopped or slowed in both westbound lanes due to the wreck on the bridge.
Hoerman’s truck apparently drifted toward the inside lane and it clipped the passenger side mirror of a Toyota Tundra driven by Charles Arney, 65, of Olive Branch, Illinois, that was slowing in the inside lane.
Hoerman’s truck then hit the rear of a 1998 Honda Shadow motorcycle stopped or slowing in the outside lane, throwing both riders from the bike.
The tractor-trailer continued westbound, swerving into the inside lane. It missed two vehicles in front of the Toyota Tundra but hit the rear of a tractor-trailer rig in front of them. That rig was a 1987 Peterbilt driven by Jeremy L. Wuels, 31, of Carlisle, Illinois.
The McCracken County Coroner pronounced the driver of the motorcycle and his passenger dead at the scene. Their names are being withheld pending notification of next of kin. However, both had out-of-state identification.
Both Hoerman and Wuels were taken to Western Baptist Hospital. Hoerman sustained scratches to his hands. Wuels complained of pain to his left arm.
The accident is being reconstructed by the Paducah Police Department’s Accident Reconstruction Team.
The interstate reopened late evening after traffic had been routed down the KY 305 off-ramp, across KY 305 and back onto the interstate.
McCracken County Sheriff Jon Hayden said the earlier accident on the bridge happened after road construction on the Illinois side caused traffic to slow down as it met that area. One car did not slow down fast enough and ran into the back of another.
The people involved had only minor injuries.
We'll bring you more details as they become available.