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 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.
Officials at Acadian Ambulance service said at least 51 people have been taken to area hospitals and at least eight are critically hurt.
According to the 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.
Jefferson County sheriff’s Deputy Rod Carroll told the Associated Press the fog was so thick that deputies didn’t immediately realize they were dealing with multiple accidents. He said 140 to 150 vehicles were involved in the pileup.
“It is catastrophic,” Carroll said. “I’ve got cars on top of cars.”
I-10’s eastbound lanes were reopened Thursday evening after more than eight hours.
Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Stephanie 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.
“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.”