Marathon County dispatchers were flooded with 911 calls Tuesday as that chain-reaction crash happened on Interstate 39 near the Marathon-Portage County line. Sheriff's officers say more than 20 vehicles were involved.
"I've just been hit, and I'm trying to move forward a little bit, get out of the way, before it gets to a bigger accident," said one male caller with a sense of urgency in his voice.
"OK, where are you, sir?" asked the dispatcher.
"(Highway) 51 north. I'm in a semi," said the caller. "There was another semi, looked like he tagged on the left side of me trying to pass me, I was doing about 35 miles an hour."
"Sir, yeah, OK. Where on 51 are you?" responded the dispatcher.
"I don't, I can't see a mile marker, ma'am," said the caller.
Clearly it was a confusing situation as the crash first happened. That caller wasn't the only one describing it.
"I just wanted to report a multiple car accident on Interstate 39 by exit Knowlton," said another male caller.
"There's a whole bunch of cars everywhere, there's semi trucks," added a female caller.
The first 911 caller ended up calling back, this time to report injuries.
"Marathon County 911?" the dispatcher said.
"There's been more involved in this collision. We have a head injury out here," the caller said.
Listening to the calls, it's clear the scene was stressful as people involved waited for help to arrive.
"We've got more vehicles involved. They're piling up," said the caller.
Newsline9 listened to recordings of other calls made by people who were just driving by. They weren't involved in the crash but just wanted to report it.