JANESVILLE

A woman survived a fall from an ice-covered highway bridge on the south side of Janesville around 7 a.m. Friday.

The slippery surface led to three separate crashes involving five vehicles on the westbound and eastbound sides of the Highway 11 bridge over Read Road, Sgt. Josh Lund of the Rock County Sheriff’s Office said at the scene.

Deputies shut down the highway. The eastbound side stayed closed for about 90 minutes.

Lund said a woman driving east on the highway slid into the side of the bridge and got out of her pickup truck. Then a mini-van approached and purposely ran into the bridge-side barrier in an attempt to stop, but the van hit the rear of the truck.

The collision caused the woman to go over the barrier, falling 25 to 30 feet onto a grassy slope between the eastbound and westbound lanes, Lund said.

She was taken to Mercyhealth Hospital and Trauma Center in Janesville with non-life-threatening injuries.

A second two-vehicle crash occurred in the eastbound lanes, and a passenger in one of those vehicles, who was pregnant, was taken to the hospital for observation, although there was no indication of injury to her or the fetus, Lund said.

The third crash involved an SUV that hit the bridge barrier on the westbound side.

Lund described the bridge as “a sheet of ice.”

It didn’t take much to freeze the trace precipitation that fell overnight.

The temperature stayed at the freezing point all night, according to readings from the National Weather Service taken at the nearby Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport.

The first reading higher than 32 degrees was recorded at 7:45 a.m.

County trucks were called to salt the bridge surfaces after the crashes.

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