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February 23. 2013 6:14PM

Icy roads blamed for 5-vehicle crash on Franconia Notch Parkway

Icy roads led to a five-vehicle pileup on Franconia Notch Parkway Saturday afternoon, but somehow no one got hurt, police said.

Sgt. Jeff Meier of Lincoln police said the chain-reaction accident happened in the Basin Hill area on the southbound side of the parkway shortly after 3 p.m. It closed the southbound roadway for about an hour, leaving traffic backed up for miles.

"It was close to white-out conditions," Meier said. "The weather had turned and the roads had glazed over."

The first car spun out and struck the guardrails a couple times, Meier said. Drivers behind it tried to brake to avoid the car, but a pickup truck struck a Jeep and another car, sending the car into the guardrail.

Just as those four vehicles were about stopped, Meier said, a Toyota Tundra towing a snowmobile trailer came upon the scene and struck the pickup truck.

The roadway was so blocked by the crash that emergency vehicles had to travel northbound in the southbound lane to reach the scene, he said. An ambulance that was taking a patient from Cannon Mountain to the hospital was stuck in the traffic and the patient had to be transferred to a second ambulance that came in from the other direction.

Meier said that area is notorious for icing up in bad weather. "Franconia Notch Parkway has its own weather anyway," he said. "Once it glazes over, it really turns into almost like a ping-pong match up there. Everybody seems to get bounced around."

He said he's seen it so bad that the state trucks have to back up the parkway to sand the roads.

Meier said four of the five vehicles involved in the crash were driven by out-of-state drivers: three from Massachusetts and one from Connecticut.

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