An early morning pile up involving 40 vehicles on Interstate 10 in New Orleans shut down the Interstate in both directions and also claimed the lives of two people while injuring scores of others.
Officials said the pre-dawn crash on the eastern side of New Orleans, occurred around 4:00 a.m. local time, involved mostly semi-trucks and other large vehicles.
The AP reported the accident caused 22 people to be taken to the hospital. Officials said 37 other people declined treatment. A single firefighter suffered a laceration to his face and received stitches to close the gash.
According to local reports from WDSU, all eastbound and westbound lanes of traffic were closed on I-10 near Michoud, and westbound traffic was being diverted off the interstate at the I-510 exit and eastbound at Chef Menteur Highway.
The wreck caused a backup for many miles on the freeway during the morning rush hour commute. Tow trucks were working to clear the wreckage but due to the size of the vehicles were slow to do so. By noon, neither side of the interstate had been cleared, according to Fox News.
Investigators have not yet released the victims' names, but said one of the men was a 54-year-old Springfield resident and the second man lived in Slidell.
Fog was reported at some airports along the central Gulf Coast at the time of the crash. This includes one of the airports closest to the area where the crash occurred.
Local reports confirmed the weather during the crash, “conditions were favorable for fog at the time of the crash with clear skies and calm winds," according to AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
Fog reduced the visibility to just over two miles around the time of the crash at the Alvin Callender Field Airport which is about three miles away from the business district of New Orleans.