At least 2 killed in multi-car pileup on fog-shrouded highway

Tuesday, February 5, 2002

Associated Press WriterSELMA, Calif. (AP) -- About 90 vehicles piled up in two chain-reaction accidents in dense fog Tuesday, killing at least two people and injuring dozens of others.

Joe Galba, 43, of Visalia, said he slowed down just before he saw brake lights signaling the crash. He even remarked at how fast some drivers were traveling given the conditions.

Witnesses said visibility was around 50 feet.

"As they passed, I said, 'See you on the news,"' Galba said.

He heard a series of crashes -- including a truck hitting his car -- and swerved onto the shoulder before landing in a ditch.

California Highway Patrol officers had been "pacing" traffic in the area to keep speeds low at about 7 a.m., just before the accidents, Officer Axel Reyes said.

One man and a woman were confirmed dead, and at least 22 others were injured, CHP officers reported from the scene. Fresno County fire officials first reported five dead.

The heavily traveled highway runs north-south through the San Joaquin Valley. The accidents occurred about 20 miles south of Fresno.

Chain-reaction pileups blamed on dense winter fog are not unusual in the area. On Jan. 3, 77 vehicles smashed together near Caliente in a series of 15 rapid-fire collisions that killed one man and injured 15 others.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: