Blake Shelton, Nick Lachey, Donald Trump and more: WCPO's 9 most popular photo galleries of 2016

CINCINNATI -- From the untimely demise of a local primate to our long presidential horse race, 2016 brought a slew of unforgettable moments. WCPO photographers were "On Your Side" snapping pictures of the Tri-State’s biggest events all year long. 

Here are the top nine most popular photo galleries of the year, as determined by how many times you viewed them on WCPO.com:

1. Massive multi-vehicle pileup on I-74 near Indiana-Ohio state line

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The trucks just kept coming the morning of Jan. 12 on I-74 just west of the state line. The crash began with one jackknifed semi-trailer and quickly escalated to 40 vehicles due to a snow squall at about 11 a.m. 

The mass of wreckage resembled a junkyard and shut down I-74 in both directions until nightfall, but, shockingly, there were no life-threatening injuries among the six people taken to hospitals.

2. Car recovered from Ohio River after falling off bridge

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A “horrifying” series of crashes on March 15 sent a car hurtling off the Combs-Hehl Bridge into the Ohio River, where it lay under 40 feet of water, silt and mud for 11 days before strong currents abated enough for it to be recovered.

Only then was it confirmed that 32-year-old Milford resident David Bouma had died in the tragedy. The crash and ensuing traffic jam caused a federal judge to extend primary election voting by one hour in Hamilton, Butler, Warren and Clermont counties.

3. Ben-Gals hopefuls shake and shimmy for spot on squad

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In a welcome change from the grisly images of the top two galleries, WCPO’s third most popular gallery of 2016 featured dozens of lovely ladies strutting their stuff across the 20th Century Theater stage, hoping to land a spot as a Ben-Gal cheerleader.

4. Donald Trump finally visits the Tri-State

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Just two days before Ohio’s primary, then-Republican candidate Donald Trump stopped by West Chester Township for his first visit to Greater Cincinnati. The Q-and-A-style rally drew thousands of supporters and some protestors.

5. 18th annual Flying Pig Marathon takes flight

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More than 40,000 runners gathered to race 26.2 grueling and hilly miles through Downtown, Northern Kentucky and as far east as Mariemont. A soggy start soon gave way to full sun as racers began trickling across the finish line.

6. Killer clowns, monsters and celebs invade Sharonville Convention Center

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Months before a plague of creepy clowns crawled across the country, thousands of horror fans swarmed the Sharonville Convention Center to meet celebrities and make-believe monsters at HorrorHound Weekend. 

We’d prefer the clowns stay at their conventions, rather than threatening school children

7. Cafeteria shooting stuns Madison Jr./Sr. High School

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Madison Township came to a standstill on Feb. 29 as 14-year-old James Austin Hancock unleashed a volley of gunfire in the school cafeteria, striking two students with bullets. Two others were injured as they tried to escape.

Hancock pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six years in a juvenile facility. Parents of three students injured in the shooting also filed a civil suit against Hancock.

8. Happy first birthday, Lachey's Bar!

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It’s been a big year for Cincinnati's "royal family." The sports bar Nick and Drew Lachey opened in Over-the-Rhine celebrated its one-year anniversary with a red-carpet party on Feb. 20.

Nick also became the voice of the Cincinnati streetcar and announced another bouncing baby Lachey is on the way.

9. Blake Shelton rocks U.S. Bank Arena

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Country singer and “The Voice” judge Blake Shelton performed for the Tri-State with guest Chris Janson on Feb. 18.

Shelton was spotted later in the year grabbing ice cream in Norwood with girlfriend Gwen Stefani before her August performance at Riverbend Music Center. 

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