Heavy fog leads to a fatal crash involving 158 vehicles on I-55 near New Orleans

Heavy fog leads to a fatal crash involving 158 vehicles on I-55 near New Orleans

street. Parish of John the Baptist, no. At least seven people were killed and more than two dozen others were injured Monday morning when a layer of dense fog covered a New Orleans highway, leading to dozens of accidents as visibility dropped to zero.

The initial accident occurred in the northbound lanes just before 9 a.m., with about 18 tractor-trailers collided between Ruddock and Manchac. Three of the semis caught fire and the fire spread to other vehicles. Meanwhile, another chain-reaction multi-vehicle accident closed the southbound lanes.

FOX 8 in New Orleans reported there was also a third large backlog. The rest of the incidents occurred near the big three. Authorities said dozens of agencies were called in to assist, and crews were called in on their days off.

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The preliminary investigation showed that at least 158 ​​vehicles were involved in the morning accidents. The death toll stood at seven as of Monday night, while more than twenty were reported to have been taken to local hospitals.

An eyewitness told FOX Weather that he was taking his daughter to the airport when he had to stop suddenly to avoid a collision.

He said he couldn’t see the cars in front of him, observed the stopped cars via GPS, and then slammed on the brakes.

“I happened to be in a small pocket of about 15 cars with no damage,” Lance Scott said. “And maybe two or three seconds after we stopped, I just heard boom, boom, boom, boom, crash after crash behind us.”

His daughter, who works as a nurse in the intensive care unit, jumped out of his car to help the injured for about two hours. Other victims also checked on the trapped drivers.

“And all the paramedics started going down the southbound lane on the northbound lane and basically setting up a little triage as they stopped,” Scott said. “They were taking some people on stretchers over the fence to the ambulances. They took them out of here.”

One of the pickup trucks hit a Ford F-150 with such force that the truck ended up on top of the other.
(Michel Charbonnet)

One of the pickup trucks hit a Ford F-150 with such force that the truck ended up on top of the other.
(Michel Charbonnet)

The large fog caused the chain reaction accident.
(Michel Charbonnet)

Drivers and passengers were stranded on the elevated highway.
(Michel Charbonnet)

Visibility was close to zero.
(Michel Charbonnet)

At least one car crossed the guardrail.
(Michel Charbonnet)

With both directions of the interstate closed, the Louisiana Department of Traffic Development reported an 11-mile backup. The closure was still in effect Tuesday morning.

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The super fog layer was a mixture of smoke from swamp wildfires that have been burning since July, and the fog had blanketed the greater New Orleans area for two days. Humidity emanated from the burning wet swamps and caused visibility to drop to less than 10 feet.

The NWS has issued dense fog warnings for most of southern Louisiana and Mississippi.

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One of the vehicles veered off the highway

First responders and emergency crews had a large tent with portable restrooms and a communications center to organize recovery and cleanup, Storm Chaser Brandon Clement told FOX Weather.

Fire engines had to stop at the base of the elevated road and extend ladders in the air towards the elevated road to reach the accident and the victims.

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His photos showed a pickup truck wedged underneath a Ford F-150 truck. He said he smelled burning rubber and heard the crackle of burning tires.

According to the sheriff, at least one car was pushed over the raised highway barrier. The driver and passengers were injured but still alive.

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“I don’t know how, the way this highway was raised above the water without any intersections, how you could bring the two wreckers down here to start pulling these vehicles to the side of the road to create a lane for vehicles going forward,” Scott said, fearing it would remain there for several hours.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation also closed I-10 on the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain in both directions for hours, diverting drivers to I-310. Many accidents occurred near this intersection with very low visibility.

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Several schools in the area have already announced a delayed start time for Tuesday as a dangerous haze and smoke mix is ​​expected to form overnight.

“I-55 is expected to be closed for the foreseeable future,” Louisiana State Police said on social media. The forces are informing the families of the victims and investigating the exact causes of the incidents. DOTD is inspecting the road and bridges and trying to remove “extensive debris.”

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