More than 80 people were injured when a collision occurred on Interstate 10 in extremely foggy conditions Thursday. The highway reopened Thursday evening.
BEAUMONT, Texas — Two people died and more than 80 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 of 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.
"We have 18-wheelers on top of cars, we have cars on top of cars. It's just catastrophic," he said, adding that rescuers were still looking for victims.
I-10's eastbound lanes were re-opened Thursday evening after more than eight hours.
Two bodies were found underneath a tractor-trailer, he said. After all vehicles were searched, authorities determined as many as 100 people were injured, up to 12 of them seriously or critically hurt, Carroll said.
"People were not driving for the conditions at hand," he said.
He said the initial accidents took place separately about a mile apart on the east- and westbound sides of the interstate.
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."
The highway had been crowded with motorists traveling during the Thanksgiving holiday. Many of the vehicles were moving close to the posted speed of 70 mph despite dense fog that limited visibility, Carroll said.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.