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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. – Traffic was flowing 24 hours after three crashes shut down a stretch of southbound Interstate 55 in Jefferson County.

Trooper Dallas Thompson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol said the initial crash happened around 3 p.m. Wednesday. The roads were a little wet, one driver was going too fast for the road conditions and lost control. It caused a chain reaction of crashes as other drivers tried to swerve to avoid the cars in front of them.

In the end, there were 20 vehicles involved in the main crash off of I-55 near the Imperial exit, but that crash also caused two separate crashes with about a dozen vehicles involved. Jefferson County authorities handled those accidents.

The crashes happened during rush hour and it backed up traffic in the area for hours as crews worked to clear the scene.

“The way the vehicles came to a rest, we were able to keep a little bit of traffic moving by on the right shoulder and then we had several tow companies that,” Thompson said.

Thompson said the tow trucks would arrive at the scene, grab a pair of wrecked vehicles, and took them to a nearby commuter lot before returning to the accident scene.

If you’re ever involved in an accident on the interstate, Trooper Thompson said you should stay in your vehicle. With cars still trying to drive by and emergency crews trying to make their way to the accident, you don’t want to be out on the roadway.

Amazingly, most of the drivers in the 20-car pile-up suffered only minor injuries if any at all.