In a devastating series of events on Monday morning, at least seven lives were lost in Louisiana as a result of a catastrophic collision involving an astounding 158 vehicles. This horrific accident was caused by a lethal combination of “superfog” created by smoke from marsh fires in south Louisiana and dense fog that engulfed the area.
Louisiana State Police have reported that 25 individuals sustained injuries, and sadly, the number of fatalities is expected to rise as first responders strive to clear the crash scenes and locate any remaining victims.
Chaos and Destruction Unleashed
Videos capturing the aftermath of the crashes display a surreal sight akin to an endless junkyard of mangled cars strewn across the bustling interstate near the community of Manchac. These vehicles were left crushed beneath one another, some caught in flames, while bystanders stood in disbelief alongside the road. Meanwhile, many trapped individuals remained inside their vehicles, anxiously awaiting assistance.
Amongst those directly impacted by the wreckage was Christopher Coll, a 41-year-old driver caught in one of the pileups. Coll described the harrowing experience, stating that he had already applied his brakes, slowing down, when an F-250 truck unexpectedly drove atop his work trailer and sent him on an unimaginable ride. As the chaos unfolded, Coll could hear desperate cries for help from fellow motorists, along with the sounds of colliding cars and bursting tires. Thankfully, he managed to force open his passenger door, providing himself with an escape route. In a heroic display, he then proceeded to assist others, pulling one individual through a car window to safety.
Clarencia Patterson Reed found herself caught in the wave of absolute devastation as she journeyed to Manchac with her wife and niece. Reed recounted the terrifying moment when she noticed people frantically waving their hands in an attempt to signal her to stop. However, before she could react, her vehicle was struck from behind and the side by two other cars. The resulting impact reverberated with a resounding “Boom. Boom.” for what felt like an eternity. Thankfully, Reed was able to quickly extricate herself from her own car, but her wife was trapped inside, sustaining injuries to her leg and side.
A Plea for Support
In the wake of this tragedy, Governor John Bel Edwards has called upon the community to rally together, urging blood donors to step forward and offering prayers for those tragically hurt or lost. The road to recovery will be a long and arduous one, but with the collective strength and support of the people, Louisiana will begin to heal.
Crashes and Superfog Cause Road Chaos in Louisiana
Louisiana State Police recently shared shocking aerial photos on their Facebook page, revealing the aftermath of a massive pile-up on the elevated interstate. The images showcase the wreckage of numerous cars and extensive debris scattered across both northbound and southbound lanes. This particular stretch of highway runs above treacherous swampy terrain and open waters, providing a grim backdrop to the scene.
State troopers continue to work diligently in notifying affected families, conducting thorough investigations to determine the precise causes of the accidents, and coordinating with the state’s transportation department for a meticulous bridge inspection.
The chaos on the roads caused a significant backlog of traffic for miles in both directions on I-55. The situation also led to intermittent closures of sections of I-10 and the 24-mile long Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. With visibility severely compromised, motorists found themselves stranded, prompting the use of school buses to transport them away from the accident sites. Fortunately, a statement from state police assured everyone that despite one vehicle plunging into the water after breaching the guardrail, the driver emerged without any injuries.
Social media channels were buzzing with news from the National Weather Service, which reported multiple wetland fires in the vicinity. The combination of these fires and dense fog resulted in what meteorologists coined as “superfog.” As conditions gradually improved and the fog dissipated, visibility gradually increased. However, it remains uncertain how long the marsh fires, which caused visible smoke and an unpleasant odor lingering in the New Orleans area over the weekend, will continue to impact travel.
According to The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate, there were several school closures and delayed openings in and around New Orleans due to the thick smoke and lingering fog. The smoke emanating from the Bayou Sauvage Urban National Wildlife Refuge affected the region significantly. In response, city officials announced specific locations where individuals could obtain free masks, providing some relief in the Eastern Orleans area and in the Algiers neighborhood located on the west bank of the Mississippi River.