Inclement weather in southeast Texas led to a more than 100 car pile-up that will likely be ruled the worst automotive accident in the state's history.
Two people are dead and more than 80 people sustained minor injuries or worse after intense fog on Interstate 10 led to collisions involving approximately 140 vehicles in total. Authorities responded to the first collision report from the more than 100 car pile-up -- which occurred southwest of Beaumont, TX , approximately 80 miles east of Houston-- around 8:45 am CST on Thanksgiving Day. Officials from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department say the fog was so heavy at the time, they didn't even realize they were dealing with multiple accidents when first arriving on the scene. As of press time, Texas' Department of Public Safety has confirmed that eight people were critically wounded, and more than 50 were taken to area hospitals as a result of the more than 100 car pile-up.
According to the Sheriff's Department, an initial crash on the eastbound side of the highway set off a chain reaction of collisions which spiraled out of control due to a lack of visibility on the foggy road. Even as the vehicles piled up, dozens of drivers added to the pile-up before conditions were clear enough for other motorists to avoid further collisions.
Many of the 140 vehicles involved were totaled, including an SUV which was crushed by a tractor trailer, which led to the only two deaths confirmed thus far. Two vehicles were carrying hazardous materials, but authorities have confirmed that neither spilled its cargo.
While authorities were horrified by the carnage they witnessed upon arrival, they were also surprised by the compassion and willingness to help that was displayed by nearby pedestrians who were not injured.
"The foremost thing in this holiday season is how other travelers were helping us," Carroll told KDFM, adding "When we were overwhelmed, sitting and holding, putting pressure on people that were injured."
Update: The Houston Chronicle says four collisions were initially reported around 8:45am, which is certainly more than the single report that was believed to have been filed yesterday. The Texas Department of Public Safety has also identified the victim's of yesterday's wreck as 64-year-old Vincent Leggio and his 60-year-old wife Debra, both residents of Pearland, Texas. More than a dozen people involved in yesterday's more than 100 car pile-up remain hospitalized in critical condition. Officials still aren't able to offer a firm total of vehicles involved, and don't anticipate being able to do so until all of the wreckage has been untangled.
Here are some of the first videos of the more than 100 car pile-up in Texas: