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Interstate 81 near Adams closed temporarily Thursday after crashes

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ADAMS — Portions of Interstate 81 near the village were closed for a few hours Thursday morning after a series of vehicle crashes brought on by heavy snowfall that created whiteout conditions.

The southbound lanes of the interstate at Exit 41 were closed about 9:50 a.m., after a state police patrol car was hit from behind by a jackknifed tractor-trailer, leading to additional collisions.

“It was messy,” said Trooper Kevin M. Rose, who helped investigate the scene.

According to state police, the patrol car, driven by Trooper James R. Chartrand, was on the roadway to assist a vehicle that had slid into the median. Trooper Chartrand was not injured in the crash, but the vehicle’s rear passenger side sustained extensive damage, according to Zone Sgt. Robert Dixon.

After the initial collision, five other vehicles crashed in the same area, with some hitting the tractor-trailer.

Four people involved in the crash were taken to Samaritan Medical Center, Watertown, with minor injuries.

Trooper Rose said it had not been determined whether any of the drivers would receive tickets for their part in the collision.

State police reopened the road at 12:40 p.m.

About the same time, vehicle crashes also were reported near Exit 39.

Also helping state police at the scene were the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, the state Department of Transportation and the Adams and Mannsville village fire departments.

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