LINN COUNTY, Ore. – One person was killed after thick fog was said to cause several crashes along a busy Oregon highway Wednesday.
Paramedics and police flocked to Interstate 5 near Harrisburg, Oregon, after multiple pileups were reported around 8 a.m.
Officials say visibility was near zero, with thick fog compounded by smoke from nearby wildfires.
The National Weather Service reported 0 visibility around 7 a.m. and about 1/16 of a mile at the time of the accident in Eugene which is about 18 miles away.
The Oregon State Police reported that 15 to 20 commercial trucks and 45 passenger cars were involved.
The accidents closed I-5 SB for almost 17 miles just north of Eugene. The backup extended for about 4 miles. Even Route 99W, used as a detour, was at a standstill through the area.
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So many people were stranded on the highway that authorities summoned school busses from Eugene to transport 30-40 victims away while calls went out for tow trucks.
Hazmat crews are on the scene attending to about six commercial trucks that were leaking fluids.
ODOT says the roadway will be closed for several more hours at least.
The National Weather Service issued an Air Quality Alert and a Smoke Air Quality Advisory for the region. A capping dome of high pressure has kept the stagnant air locked into the Pacific Northwest for almost a week.