Multiple State Fire Departments Respond To ‘Chain-Reaction’ Crash That Killed Six
A police car at an emergency scene.
MCCAIG via Getty Images.

A series of car crashes in Missouri left six dead and involved dozens of cars Thursday morning as the interstate was backed up for hours as authorities responded to the accident. 

Fog on portions of interstate 57 in Missouri made driving difficult and led to a “chain-reaction crash” involving multiple vehicles, including tractor-trailers. Several vehicles caught fire.

“It appears a vehicle stopped in front of someone and caused a chain-reaction crash,” said Sergeant Jeff Kinder, of Missouri State Highway Patrol. Kinder added that there was “probably a half a mile long,” of the crash to respond to, which happened in Mississippi County.  

At 12:15 p.m. on Thursday, the Missouri Department of Transportation announced that both lanes of I-57 were being closed down to a “ due to a multi-vehicle incident.” Reports of the amount of vehicles in the pile up range from 47 to over 135

As of late Thursday evening, Mississippi County Coroner Terry Parker was still in the process of informing the families of those killed in the accident and identifying the victims. 

“Only in one of, one of the worse war movies, or in Chicago or St. Louis fire, something we’d maybe see on the news in a large city, but nothing of this nature in our area,” he said of the accident. 

“Notifying the families, we begin the process of positively identifying the remains we have in our care,” he added. “The towing services, the highway patrol reconstruction team, will now begin to start and try and figure out how the wreck happened, what started the wreck, and they’ve got hours and hours of reconstruction work to do.”

The Scott City Fire Department aided in the emergency efforts and said that they were at the scene of the pile up for about six hours. 

According to the department, emergency crews from multiple states, including Kentucky, Illinois, and Missouri came to aid in relief efforts. The Cape Girardeau fire department also responded to the accident calling it a “very difficult day.” 

“This was unlike anything we’ve ever responded to and all of fire, police, ems, towing, hazmat, and many more came together and made this run as smoothly as possible with the situation given. Please continue to keep everyone that assisted during this tragic event in your prayers as well as the victims and their families,” Scott City Fire Department posted on Friday. 

One police public safety director explained that the fog was to blame for the accident saying that driver’s couldn’t see more than 50 feet in front of themselves.

“When we got the call about 8 a.m., and as we approached the interstate, it was a very thick fog,” Robert Hearnes of Charleston, Missouri, said. “You couldn’t, visibility was less than 50 feet. And so the traffic had already backed up, but we had multiple, multiple accidents on both sides of the interstate.” 

By early Friday morning, all lanes on the interstate were open and running.