Flash flood watch for most of SE Wisconsin through 7 a.m. Saturday

‘Everybody’s crashing into us!’ Sheriff releases 911 calls, videos, scene photos from pileup near Neenah

NEENAH -- Officials with the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday, Feb. 27 95 percent of the 131 vehicles involved in a pileup crash on I-41 southbound near Neenah on Sunday, Feb. 24 were totaled. Seventy-one people were hurt in the largest crash in state history, and 30-year-old Andrew Schefelker of Oshkosh lost his life. Schefelker was a middle school/high school science teacher with the Iola-Scandinavia School District.

Sheriff's officials said the chain-reaction crash was caused by whiteout conditions around 11:15 a.m. The roadway reopened around 3 a.m. the next day.

As of Wednesday, Feb. 27, sheriff's officials, in conjunction with several wrecker companies in the area, began the process of releasing vehicles from the impound site, where they were taken after the crash. Sheriff's officials said owners were being notified as they worked to systematically release the vehicles -- a process that was expected to take a few days.

Meanwhile, the Winnebago Sheriff's Office released numerous body camera videos, 911 calls and photos from the scene.

One woman called 911 to report she was just in an accident. She said she "can't see anything" and "everybody's just crashing into us." She later screams and says, "My car's just shaking. I don't feel safe in the car."

Photos released by the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office show crumpled cars, pickups and semis smashed into one another on the snowy highway. In body cam video, a responding deputy crawls over the wreckage and yells to a trapped motorist to hold on.

Body camera videos:

911 calls:

Scene photos:

"All but one person walked away from it. That is unreal to me," said Isral Debruin.

Debruin drove up from Milwaukee Monday, Feb. 25 to help his mother and stepfather -- among the injured.

"Their car was hit four times, including from behind by a semi," said Debruin.

Debruin's mother suffered a broken hand.

"We were slowed way down, and it just freaks you out because you know it's not good," said a driver.

"There are a lot of lessons. We ran out of vehicles. We have no more vehicles to give deputies that were responding to assist," said Sheriff James Matz. "It was a weather-related crash. Certainly there are things we can do to reduce -- not going out in this kind of weather."

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