January 1, 1997 in Nation/World

Woman Dies In Foggy 70-Vehicle Smashup

Associated Press
 

Two buses, several trucks and dozens of other vehicles smashed into one another in a series of chain-reaction wrecks in dense fog during Tuesday morning’s rush hour, killing at least one person.

Police estimated at least 70 vehicles were involved in the accidents on a five-mile bridge carrying Interstate 10 across one end of Lake Pontchartrain between New Orleans and Slidell.

A bus was involved in one of the accidents on the bridge’s eastbound lanes, and another bus was in a wreck on the westbound side, said police Sgt. Frank Bivens.

There was “every police uniform we could muster shutting down the I-10,” said Cpl. Cliff Cox of the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office.

One woman was killed and at least two people were taken to a hospital, Bivens said. Other people were injured but did not need to go to hospitals, he said.

Visibility reportedly was as low as five to 10 feet on parts of the bridge.

The fog cut visibility to as little as one-sixteenth of a mile at Lakefront Airport, which is on Lake Pontchartrain about 10 miles from the bridge, the National Weather Service said.

No flights were delayed or canceled at New Orleans International Airport, a spokeswoman said.

In addition to being a major commuter route for Slidell residents working in New Orleans, I-10 is the main route into New Orleans from Florida, and thousands of Floridians were expected to arrive for today’s Sugar Bowl football game between Florida and Florida State.

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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