At least two people are dead and between 80 and 100 others are injured after roughly 100 cars and trucks collided on Interstate 10 near Beaumont, Texas, CNN reported today.
Poor visibility due to heavy fog has been blamed for the massive pileup on Thanksgiving Day, which forced the closure of the freeway on one of America's busiest travel days of the year.
The accidents started around 8 a.m. this morning and the road was soon closed in both directions, Stephanie Davis, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Public Safety's Beaumont district, told the Houston Chronicle.
"Initial reports at the time of the crash indicated there was dense fog, which could be a contributing factor to those crashes," Davis was quoted by CNN as saying.
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Rod Carroll told the Associated Press that the fog was so thick that police arriving on the scene didn't realize immediately that they were dealing with a huge pileup.
‘‘It is catastrophic,’’ Carroll said. ‘‘I've got cars on top of cars.’’
Video footage showed the mangled wreckage of trucks and cars on the stretch of freeway.
Carroll told CNN that "at least 80 and as many as 120 injured people" had been transported to hospitals for treatment.
Uninjured travelers tried to help authorities rescue drivers and passengers injured or trapped in their vehicles.
‘‘It’s just people helping people,’’ Carroll said. ‘‘The foremost thing in this holiday season is how other travelers were helping us when we were overwhelmed, sitting and holding, putting pressure on people that were injured.’’
Reuters quoted Denise Richter, a spokeswoman for Acadian Ambulance Service in the area, as saying her company had transported 51 people to hospital, including eight in a critical condition.
Officials did not have an estimate of when the freeway would reopen, but the AP said it was likely to remain closed for the rest of the day.
“We’ve got too many crashes going on, so we’re still working on that," said Davis, according to The Guardian Express. "I would avoid the route entirely."
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