A superwreck involving some 140 cars and 18-wheelers snarled traffic on Interstate 10 west of Beaumont on Thanksgiving Day.
The Beaumont Enterprise reported that four separate wrecks caused the massive pileup in the dense early morning fog. Two people, Vincent and Debra Leggio of Pearland, died, and more than 80 others were injured, at least 12 of them seriously. The Leggios were killed when an 18-wheeler collided with their 2007 Chevrolet SUV.
Thursday morning’s severe fog reduced visibility to one-eighth of a mile on the roadway. It was so thick that deputies didn’t initially realize how large the wreck was. But as it became clearer, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Rod Carroll told the Enterprise that the scale of the wreck was “catastrophic.” “I’ve got cars on top of cars,” he said.
The collision did yield more than a few good Samaritans, the Enterprise reported:
Carroll said uninjured drivers tried to help as authorities sorted through the wreckage.
“It’s just people helping people,” Carroll said. “The foremost thing in this holiday season is how other travelers were helping us when we were overwhelmed, sitting and holding, putting pressure on people that were injured.”
A Christian Science Monitor story pegged to the wreck pondered whether 18-wheelers should be forced to slow down on Texas’s roads:
While statistics show that more than two-thirds of truck-passenger car crashes are the fault of the motorist, not the trucker, Texas authorities have confirmed that it was a tractor trailer that crashed into the SUV of a Pearland, Tex., couple that were killed in the massive Thanksgiving pileup. Truckers commenting on the crash also noted the prominence of several other tractor trailers in news pictures. The scene was chaos, with first responders overwhelmed and those unhurt from the crash scrambling to help survivors, many of them bleeding and at least 10 critically injured.
Drivers weighing in on the accident on various comment boards lamented the possible cultural dynamics of the crash. “Unless you’ve ever traveled here [in Texas], it’s hard for anyone to imagine how fast drivers in this state actually go,” one commenter wrote.
It’s worth noting that the last day Texas saw no traffic-related fatality was more than twelve years ago, on November 7, 2000. Since then, more than 41,000 people have died on Texas roads.