Multiple car pile up stalls Christmas travel for dozens (with photos)

By Jillian Marshall

December 24, 2013 Updated Dec 25, 2013 at 2:42 PM EDT

Kirkwood, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A more than 20 car pile up clogged Interstate 81 north for more than an hour after drivers say they couldn't see until it was too late.

It happened around 4:00 Tuesday afternoon right before the New York State Welcome Center on I-81.

More than 20 vehicles and a Maines tractor trailer crashed, blocking all three lanes from traffic.

One driver said it was a white out, a brief period of heavy snow where it is difficult to see, and the roads were covered with snow.

"It went from no snow, a little snow flurries, to white out. It happened so fast," said Helen Kuveke, of Ithaca.

"I was even saying, I've never seen snow come down this fast. And it was horrifying, it was really scary," said Jayme Peck, of Ithaca.

He believes there was a crash between two cars in the middle of the interstate, but because of the white out other drivers couldn't see it, so they all ran into each other.

"All of a sudden you see a bunch of stopped cars, and I tried to hit the brakes, and try to get us stopping, but we were not stopping, and she kept saying slow down, slow down, and I cant stop," Peck said who was driving home with Kuveke and their 3-year-old son.

While attempting to avoid the crash, the tractor trailer slid into both lanes pushing three other cars off of the interstate.

The driver of one of those cars was sent to the hospital with a minor head injury.

One family from West Point was headed to Vestal to visit family for the holidays. Their Nissan Versa was totaled in the crash. The driver of the car said his wife and two children were taken to the hospital.

They weren't the only ones taken away in an ambulance. Others were taken to the hospital, but those involved in the pile up said none of the injuries were serious.