At least 54 people were injured and more than 79 vehicles were damaged last Thursday in a string of 22 chain-reaction pileups on Highway 73 near Beaumont in Jefferson County, Texas.
Charles Sonnier, fire chief with the Labelle-Fannett Fire Dept., told KBMT news that four people had to be rescued using the Jaws of Life and at least 54 needed to be transported to local hospitals to treat their injuries. Four victims were listed in critical condition.
“(Victims had) everything from broken bones to abrasions to whiplash,” said Rod Carroll with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. One man had a heart attack at the scene.
Officials said zero visibility in the area because of fog and smoke from marsh wildfires led to the accident.
“A fog rolled in with the smoke from the marsh fires. Talking to people involved in the accident, there was zero visibility. The accident was spread over a three-quarter to a mile area of chain-reaction accidents,” Carroll said.
Investigators said some of the cars did not leave skid marks, indicating that the drivers did not see the stopped vehicles until they crashed.