ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH, La. (WGNO) — At least seven people were killed after 158 vehicles crashed in Louisiana as “super fog” hit the area, authorities said.
The Louisiana State Police (LSP) and additional first responders are still searching for victims of the massive pileup, which happened around 9 a.m. Monday on Interstate 55 in St. John the Baptist Parish, about 30 miles northwest of New Orleans.
Police said 25 people were taken to area hospitals with injuries ranging from minor to critical. Many others sought medical aid on their own, authorities said.
Videos from the scene showed a long stretch of mangled and scorched cars on the interstate. Multiple cars were crushed under one another, some also engulfed by flames.
One man, named Vernon Banks, said his son was among dozens of drivers involved in the pileup.
“He got a gash in his leg,” said Banks of his son, Alexander Robinson. “A state trooper patched him up. Shoulder dislocated. Other than that, he’s fine.”
During one of the crashes, a car plummeted into Lake Maurepas.
“Thankfully, that driver was able to get out of that vehicle,” said LSP Sgt. Kate Stegall.
A tanker truck carrying a hazardous liquid also caught fire after the initial crash, according to authorities. Troopers said once the truck is removed from the roadway, responders will be able to better assess the vehicles in that area.
The Associated Press reported that smoke from nearby marsh fires and dense fog combined to create a “super fog,” which may have led to the crashes.
Earlier in the day, the National Weather Service posted a message on the social media platform X saying that the fog was heavily impacting I-55. Visibility had improved, but the agency said a fog advisory would be in effect overnight into tomorrow due to the ongoing fires.
Authorities are still trying to determine if any more crashes occurred during the pileup as they work to clean up the aftermath.
“Going to require a lot of tow trucks. Companies from all over are coming to get tow trucks here,” said Stegall.
The Blood Center is urging people to donate blood following the crashes. Blood donation centers near you can be found online.
Louisiana State Police asks that anyone missing a family member who may have been driving in the area at the time call Troop B at (504)-471-2775.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.