UPDATE: Victims of I-77 pileup identified - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Victims of I-77 pileup identified

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GALAX (WVVA) - The two men and one woman killed in Sunday's major 95-vehcile pileup in the Fancy Gap area of Interstate 77 have been identified by the Virginia State Police.

William M. Sosebee, 33, of Allen, Ky., was a passenger in a vehicle that collided with a tractor-trailer in the southbound lanes of I-77. Sosebee died at the scene.

Kathern Worley, 71, of Iron Station, N.C., was a passenger in a different vehicle that collided with the same tractor-trailer. Worley also died at the scene.

Andrew Katbi, 24, of Delphos, Ohio, was driving a passenger vehicle that rear-ended a tractor-trailer in the southbound lanes of I-77. Katbi also died at the scene.

The cause of the initial crash remains under investigation at this time. No charges have been placed. Heavy fog in the Fancy Gap Mountain area was a factor in the series of crashes, as vehicles were traveling too fast for conditions.

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GALAX, Va. (AP) -- Interstate 77 near the Virginia-North Carolina has reopened following a 95-vehicle pileup that killed three people and injured 25 others.

The Virginia Department of Transportation says the southbound lanes reopened around 12 a.m. Monday. Authorities reopened the northbound lanes Sunday night.

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GALAX, Va. (AP) - Nearly 100 vehicles crashed Sunday along a mountainous, foggy stretch of interstate near the Virginia-North Carolina border, killing three people and injuring 25 others.

Police said traffic along Interstate 77 in southwest Virginia backed up for about 8 miles in the southbound lanes after the accidents. Authorities closed the northbound lanes so that fire trucks, ambulances and police could get to the series of chain-reaction wrecks.

Virginia State Police determined there were 17 separate crashes involving 95 vehicles within a mile span near the base of Fancy Gap Mountain, spokeswoman Corinne Geller said. The crashes began around 1:15 p.m. Sunday when there was heavy fog in the area.

"This mountain is notorious for fog banks. They have advance signs warning people. But the problem is, people are seeing well and suddenly they're in a fog bank," said Glen Sage of the American Red Cross office in the town of Galax.

Since 1997, there have been at least six such pileups on the mountain but Sunday's crash was the most deadly, according to The Roanoke Times. Two people died in crashes involving dozens of vehicles in both 2000 and 2010.

WVVA Archive: Nov. 2010 pileup on I-77

Overhead message boards warned drivers since about 6 a.m. Sunday to slow down because of the severe fog, Geller said. The crashes were mostly caused by drivers going too fast for conditions.

At the "epicenter" was a wreck involving up to eight vehicles, some of which caught fire, Geller said. Photos from the accident scene showed a burned out tractor-trailer and several crumpled vehicles badly charred. Those taken to hospitals had injuries ranging from serious to minor.

School buses took stranded people to shelters and hotels.

Nina Rose, 20, and her mother, were driving home to Rochester, N.Y., when they encountered the pileup.

"With so much fog we didn't see much around it," Rose told the Roanoke newspaper. "As we got further up we just saw a bunch of people standing on the median, just with their kids and families all together. There were cars smashed into other cars, and cars just underneath other semi-trucks."

Darrell Utt, 17, of Moore County, N.C., was stuck in the northbound lanes for about three hours as he traveled to Huntington, W. Va.

"It was really foggy at first," he said. "We probably saw over 50 tow trucks. We saw about five cars come down and three semi-trucks. One of them, it didn't even look like a car, it looked like a chunk of metal."

Utt said motorists were calm, despite the traffic jam.

"There was no road rage or anything, everyone understood the severity of how bad this was before we even began to figure out what exactly happened," he said.

Authorities reopened the northbound lanes Sunday night and hoped to have the other side cleared later in the evening.

Police did not immediately release the names of those killed.

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GALAX, Va. (AP) - Police are now saying 95 vehicles were involved in 17 separate crashes along a mountainous, foggy stretch of interstate near the Virginia-North Carolina border.

Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corrine Geller says three people were killed Sunday and 25 people were taken to hospitals with injuries ranging from serious to minor.

The wrecks occurred on Interstate 77 in southwest Virginia in the Fancy Gap Mountain area. Geller says message boards along the interstate warned drivers of severe fog in the area. She says the crashes happened about 1:15 p.m., mostly because drivers were going too fast for conditions.

Traffic backed up for about 8 miles in the southbound lanes, which is where the wrecks occurred. Authorities also closed the northbound lanes so that emergency vehicles could get there.

Sunday's accident was similar to a Nov. 2010 pileup in which two people were killed in roughly the same location. Fog was also blamed in those crashes.

 

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GALAX, Va. (AP) -- Virginia State Police say three people have been killed and more than 20 are injured following a 75-vehicle pileup on Interstate 77 near the Virginia-North Carolina border.

The Virginia Department of Transportation says traffic is backed up about 8 miles.

State police say a series of wrecks began around 1:15 p.m. Sunday in the southbound lanes in the area of Fancy Gap Mountain in southwest Virginia. There was heavy fog at the time.

State police spokeswoman Corinne Geller says several vehicles caught fire, but the blaze has been put out.

The interstate is closed in both directions. Northbound lanes are closed so emergency vehicles can get to the southbound lanes.

Motorists are being advised to seek alternate routes.

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ORIGINAL STORY

Va. (AP) -- Virginia State Police say three people have been killed and more than 20 are injured following a 75-vehicle pileup on Interstate 77 near the Virginia-North Carolina border.

The Virginia Department of Transportation says traffic is backed up about 8 miles.

State police say a series of wrecks began around 1:15 p.m. Sunday in the southbound lanes in the area of Fancy Gap Mountain in southwest Virginia. There was heavy fog at the time.

State police spokeswoman Corinne Geller says several vehicles caught fire, but the blazed has been put out.

The interstate is closed in both directions. Northbound lanes are closed so emergency vehicles can get to the southbound lanes.

Motorists are being advised to seek alternate routes.

GALAX, Va. (AP) -- Galax police say there are several fatalities due to a multi-vehicle pileup that has shut down Interstate 77 at the Virginia-North Carolina border.

Police say both northbound and southbound lanes are closed.

Details weren't immediately available.

The Virginia Department of Transportation's 511 website says traffic is backed up about 8 miles.

Motorists are being advised to seek alternate routes. A detour has been set up at exits 24, 14 and 8. The Department of Transportation says tractor-trailers aren't allowed on the detour.

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