More than 100 cars and trucks collided in a string of accidents Monday on a fog-covered Interstate 10 bridge across Mobile Bay, killing one motorist and critically injuring six others. At least 74 people were taken to a hospital.
The wrecks in the rush-hour chain reaction left cars crumpled as if "somebody had crushed a beer can," said a witness, Ned Morris.
Some motorists wandered in shock amid smoke and the smell of gas while others scrambled from their mangled cars and frantically tried to flag down approaching drivers. About three miles of the seven-mile bridge were strewn with blackened heaps of wreckage, some consisting of dozens of vehicles.
Fog is a frequent hazard on the bridge, which is a main commuter route and is often busy with vacationers.
State Trooper spokesman Sgt. Mike Boan said "one big wall of fog" had moved across the bridge early Monday, and "you could not see in front of you anything."
"All you could hear was wham, wham, wham," said James Cartwright, who helped rescue a woman trapped in a crushed car. "I sat with a lady for maybe 35 or 40 minutes in her car until they brought equipment to get her out. She was pinned in. We kicked the windshield out and tore the hood off to help them get in there."
Others, afraid of being hit, nearly jumped into the bay. The bridge is about 30 feet above the shallow waters. Authorities said no one went into the water, and guardrails kept several vehicles from falling.