The Port Arthur News
Dense fog is to blame for a massive Thanksgiving Day pile-up involving at least 100 vehicles that left two people dead and sent 85 to local hospitals.
The catastrophic accident occurred around 8 a.m. Nov. 22 on Interstate 10 between Taylor Bayou and Hamshire Road, according to Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Stephanie Davis.
Area hospitals in Beaumont, Port Arthur and Winnie were put on alert as first responders responded to the scene. Labelle-Fannett Volunteer Fire Department Chief Charles Sonnier said about 85 people were sent to area hospitals.
The two confirmed fatalities, a male and a female, were in a 2007 Chevrolet SUV, Davis said.
Deputy Rod Carroll with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office arrived on scene shortly after the accident and said the fog was so thick that visibility was down to about 10 feet.
He described the scene as catastrophic.
“We had people coming up to us holding children, some lying o the ground. There just was not enough resources at first. I’ve never seen anything like that in 25 years,” Carroll said. “But people were fantastic. We were overwhelmed. People were staying with the injured, putting pressure on their wounds, putting blankets on the injured. You name it and it was happening. There was no way we were ready or anybody was ready at a moments notice for this.”
Treating and transporting the dozens of injured persons required numerous ambulances and EMS workers. Brandon Hebert, operations manager for Acadian Ambulance in Southeast Texas, said 22 ambulances responded to the scene as well as ambulances from Winnie, Acahuac and Hamshire-Fannett.
Hebert credits communication and team work to the success of handling the mass causality scene.
The westbound lanes of I-10 were reopened by 2 p.m. and eastbound traffic from the Houston area was being diverted to Texas 73.
Earlier this year fog was to blame for an 80 car pileup that occurred on Texas 73 causing multiple injuries but no fatalities were reported.