BEAUMONT, Texas — Two people died and more than 80 people were hurt Thursday when at least 140 vehicles collided in Southeast Texas in a pileup that left trucks twisted on top of each other and authorities rushing to pull survivors from the wreckage.
The collision occurred in extremely foggy conditions at about 8:45 a.m. Thanksgiving Day on Interstate 10 southwest of Beaumont, a Gulf Coast city about 80 miles east of Houston.
A man and a woman were killed in a Chevy Suburban SUV crushed by a tractor trailer, the Texas Department of Public Safety told KFDM-TV.
DPS trooper Stephanie Davis late Thursday identified the dead as Debra Leggio, 60, and Vincent Leggio, 64.
Jefferson County sheriff's Deputy Rod Carroll said in a news release that 80 to 90 people were transported to hospitals with 10 to 12 of those in serious to critical condition. He said 140 to 150 vehicles were involved in the pileup.
According to DPS, a crash on the eastbound side of the highway led to other accidents in a dangerous chain reaction. There were multiple crashes on the other side of the highway as well.
Carroll told The Associated Press the fog was so thick that deputies didn't immediately realize they were dealing with multiple accidents.
"It is catastrophic," Carroll said. "I've got cars on top of cars."
I-10's eastbound lanes were re-opened Thursday evening after more than eight hours.
Davis told KFDM that two people in an SUV died after the crash.
Carroll said uninjured drivers tried to help as authorities sorted through the wreckage.
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"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."
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Ramona MeadowsFriday, November 23, 2012 7:34:15 PMGod be with each & everyone that was involed in this crash & the Leggio family.
Thomas G. CharetteFriday, November 23, 2012 7:52:00 PMI drive a semi for a living. Even though my rig has a collision avoidance system, if the weather gets so bad that it's difficult to see beyond the hood, common sense says find a safe place to pull off the highway and wait it out. Weather forcasters can predict when and where thick fog will occur and it's advisable to take their forecast seriously. I learned my lesson when disregarding a forcast of freezing drizzle while travelling through Illinois and got caught in a 30 mile stretch of iced over interstate. Haste makes waste! My thoughts go out to all involved and to the first responders who had to work the scene.
Kimberly Butterfield BellFriday, November 23, 2012 10:07:10 PMAs a 911 Communications Officer as well as a volunteer Rescue EMT, I truly can not imagine a catastrophe of this magnitude. My heart goes out to the 911 dispatchers, the responding providers and law enforcement who put their lives on the line to help in this kind of weather, and the families of all those injured and passed on from this. May peace come to all involved to heal from this.