Limited visibility caused by a “super fog” over New Orleans on Monday resulted in a major car pileup involving at least 168 vehicles that left eight individuals dead and at least 63 injured.
In a statement released Tuesday on Facebook, the Louisiana State Police wrote, “The ongoing investigation has determined that at least 168 vehicles were involved in the crash, and 63 individuals received injuries in the incident.”
The Louisiana State Police explained that all of the vehicles involved in Monday’s tragic accident had been removed from both sides of I-55 and the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development had initiated the process of cleaning up the road.
“DOTD bridge inspectors are onsite conducting preliminary inspections and have identified multiple areas requiring bridge repairs,” the statement added. “A comprehensive structural inspection will take place once the bridge surface is completely clear of debris, diesel, and other chemicals.”
Louisiana State Police spokesperson told weather.com that Monday’s multi-car pileup began just prior to 9:00 on Monday. The vehicles involved in the pileup were spread across about a mile of I-55. The Daily Wire also reported that at least three 18-wheeler vehicles were involved in Monday’s vehicle pileup.
A video posted on X, formerly Twitter, by Fox 8 New Orleans shows a portion of the deadly pileup with multiple vehicles on fire.
Gov. John Edwards released a statement on social media regarding Monday’s tragic accident, warning of the danger caused by fog and wildfire smoke and encouraging Louisiana residents to pray for the individuals involved in Monday’s vehicle pileup.
“Please join me and Donna in praying for those hurt and killed in today’s tragic I-55 crash, as well as their families. The combination of wildfire smoke and dense fog is dangerous, and I want to encourage all Louisianans in affected areas to take extreme caution when traveling,” Edwards stated. “I also want to thank the first responders and medical personnel who have worked so diligently to save lives and render aid.”
The Daily Wire reported that Tyler Stanfield, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in New Orleans, claimed that the combination of smoke caused by a wildfire across the Mississippi River and moisture caused Monday’s super fog. “It’s the perfect storm,” Stanfield said, according to The New York Times.
According to Stanfield, New Orleans usually experiences a super fog two times per year as a result of regional swamp fires caused by dry conditions in the fall.
Clarencia Patterson Reed told The Times-Picayune and The New Orleans Advocate that she was forced to make a quick stop to avoid crashing into vehicles in front of her due to the super fog conditions on Monday; however, she quickly became entangled in the pileup as cars behind her crashed into her vehicle.
“It was ‘Boom. Boom,'” she said. “All you kept hearing was crashing for at least 30 minutes.”