|75-Car Pile-Up Kills at Least 3|
|By ALYSSA NEWCOMB (@AlyssaNewcomb)||Mar 31, 2013, 3:53 PM|
At least three people were killed and at least 25 were taken to the hospital after a pile-up involving dozens of cars today on a Virginia interstate.
Virginia State Police said "excessive fog" in the Fancy Gap Mountain area, near the North Carolina border, caused at least 75 vehicles to crash in the southbound lanes of the I-77.
The first emergency calls began coming in at 1:15 p.m. ET, authorities said. The northbound lanes were closed to allow emergency vehicles to quickly reach people needing assistance at the scene, according to a statement from the Virginia State Police.
While the cause of the initial crash remains under investigation, Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said it was a classic pile up.
"[There were] 17 separate traffic crashes, but they all occurred as a chain reaction in that one-mile stretch of Interstate 77," Geller said. "The initial crash, the very first one, we're still investigating obviously what caused that one exactly, that's still under investigation."
After the first crash, she said, other vehicles on the highway were traveling too fast to stop by the time they saw the accidents ahead of them in the thick fog.
"People were traveling too fast for the road conditions and you had the initial crash and then you had a chain reaction, a series of crashes because the fog was so thick, people could not see what was up ahead," she said.
Traffic was re-directed in both directions as authorities worked to clear the scene and investigate the crashes, the Virginia State Police said.
The highway was expected to repoen at around 9 p.m. ET.
Authorities advised travelers, many of whom may be traveling for the Easter holiday, to make alternate travel plans or to expect significant delays.
ABC News' Ben Waldron contributed to this report.