Three people were killed and at least 25 others were injured in a traffic pileup involving nearly 100 vehicles in southwestern Virginia near the North Carolina border Easter Sunday.
The series of collisions occurred on Interstate 77 southbound in southwest Virginia,
starting around 1:15 p.m. The Associated Press reported that Virginia State Police investigating the massive pileup determined that there were 17 separate crashes involving 95 vehicles. The crashes occurred in a mountainous region near the base of Fancy Gap Mountain when there was heavy fog in the area.
An American Red Cross worker in Galax, Virginia, told the AP that the area is notorious for fog banks, and that even though there are signs in place to warn people of foggy conditions, the problem occurs when drivers have good visibility and then suddenly find themselves driving blind in a pocket of dense fog.
According to the Roanoke Times, at least a half dozen pileups have occurred in the same area since 1997, but Sunday’s was the deadliest to date. Fatal pileups involving dozens of vehicles occurred in 2000 and 2010, claiming two people each time.
Warnings about the fog banks lit up along the interstate starting around 6 a.m. Sunday. Overhead messages cautioned drivers to slow down. Authorities blame the crashes on people driving too fast for the conditions.
Video and pictures from Sunday’s collisions showed a number of vehicles, including a tractor trailer, that had crashed and caught on fire. Authorities had to shut down the interstate’s northbound lanes to create a passage for emergency vehicles and evacuations. Witnesses reported several people, including whole families, standing in the median among the wreckage as school busses arrived to transport the uninjured motorists to shelters and hotels.