Fog suspected in 100-vehicle Texas wrecks that claim at least two lives

Friday, November 23, 2012 - 6:05pm

At least two people were killed and as many as 120 injured in Thanksgiving pileups involving an estimated 100 cars on a foggy stretch of highway in southeast Texas, authorities said.

The first accident -- a multi-car wreck in the eastbound lands of Interstate 10 -- occurred about 8:45 a.m., according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Chain-reaction crashes followed, the department said in a news release, and included several accidents in the westbound lanes of the intersate, southwest of Beaumont in Jefferson County.

"Initial reports at the time of the crash indicated there was dense fog, which could be a contributing factor to those crashes," Texas Highway Patrol Trooper Stephanie Davis said.

The two fatalities occurred in the same vehicle, authorities said. The victims were identified as Vincent Leggio, 64, and Debra Leggio, 60, both of Pearland, Texas.

The two were killed when their vehicle was hit from behind by an 18-wheeler, the Department of Public Safety said.

Video from CNN affiliate KBMT showed badly mangled vehicles atop one another and people who appeared to be injured stretched out in grass alongside the highway and on ambulance gurneys. Long lines of cars, each battered and some appearing to be totaled, lined the roadway. The vehicles included cars, minivans, pickups, tractor-trailer trucks and at least one FedEx truck.

In several pictures, there appeared to be a slight sheen of fog.

It was not known exactly how many injuries resulted from the accidents, said Davis.

Jefferson County Deputy Sheriff Rod Carroll said that at least 80 and as many as 120 injured people were taken from the scene. The most seriously injured were being transported to Houston, about 75 miles away.

Several victims were transported to neighboring hospitals in Beaumont and Port Arthur.

The role of fog and the causes of the accidents were still under investigation, Davis said.

Westbound lanes of the interstate were closed for nearly four hours before being reopened. The eastbound lanes of I-10 were closed after the accident throughout most of the day, with the Department of Public Safety saying shortly after 5 p.m. that those lanes had been cleared of debris and reopened.

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