NEENAH, Wis. — One person is dead and dozens of drivers were stranded following a massive pileup involving more than 100 cars on Interstate 41 Sunday in the town of Neenah, Wis., just south of Appleton.

Winnebago County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Todd Christopherson says whiteout conditions caused what he called a "chain reaction crash"  shortly after 11 a.m. It will take weeks, he said, to trace a specific chain of events in the complex crash, which occurred in the southbound lanes of I-41 and closed the heavily-used road for much of the day.

"I've been in the law enforcement business — this is my 27th year," Christopherson said. "On scene, that was the worst conditions I've ever seen."

Here is a numerical breakdown on the impact of the incident. 

  • 131 vehicles involved in the crash
  • 71 people treated at local hospitals, 66 of them released
  • 5 people admitted to hospitals for injuries
  • 1 dead 

Some were taken to local hospitals as far north as Green Bay, something the deputy told the Appleton Post Crescent was "unheard of, in my career."

As of 8:30 p.m. Sunday, crews removed nearly all cars from the highway, though the southbound lanes of the highway remained closed due to whiteout conditions.

Police began busing people away from the scene of the crash and closed the highway from the U.S. 10 exit to the Breezewood Lane exit, so the backed-up traffic could drive north up the southbound lanes and exit the highway.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation announced the northbound lanes of I-41 were opened as of 2 p.m., and the southbound lanes opened before 6.