OAKWOOD – Dense fog was the main culprit in several accidents Wednesday morning on Catlin-Homer Road near Oakwood.
At about 8:18 a.m., one vehicle rear-ended another in the westbound lane of Catlin-Homer Road near the intersection with Oakwood Road, according to Vermilion County Sheriff's Sgt. Dennis Wood. He said visibility was about zero because of the fog.
One vehicle pulled safely off the roadway, but the other did not, he said. A third vehicle stopped before striking the damaged vehicle, but a fourth could not stop and struck the third vehicle, shoving it into the car that had already been rear-ended.
The woman driving the third vehicle was taken to Provena United Samaritans Medical Center in Danville, Wood said, and was treated and released.
As police were handling those two accidents, Wood said, other accidents began occurring because of the low visibility, so officers made the decision to close down Catlin-Homer Road and to cut off traffic coming from Oakwood.
"We were shuttling people off (the roadway) onto side roads and driveways," Wood said.
"I've never seen fog that bad," said Wood, noting that the officers couldn't see the flashing lights on their squad cars just 5 or 10 feet from where they were standing. "We could hear the crashes happening around us but couldn't see them."
Altogether, Wood said, there were six accidents reported, including a deputy's squad car that was struck, but there were additional fender benders that were not reported.
Wood said deputies began clearing the area and opened the roads again at about 10:45 a.m., when the fog had subsided some, increasing visibility to about 500 feet. Several citations were issued, Wood said, but no one was severely injured. And the woman who was treated and released was the only person taken to the hospital.
Wood said that if motorists find themselves driving in dense fog, they should not stop in the roadway but get completely off of it, pulling into a driveway or parking lot, for instance, and turn on hazard lights. If that's not possible, then pull completely off the roadway and get on the outside of the white line and turn on hazard lights.
"Driving in thick, dense fog is not advisable at any speed," he said.