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I-77 reopens in Va. after 95-car crash

GALAX, Va. — Interstate 77 near the Virginia-North Carolina border reopened early Monday after a series of chain-reaction wrecks involving nearly 100 vehicles along a mountainous, foggy stretch of the highway, killing three people and injured 25 others.

Virginia State Police determined 95 vehicles were wrecked in 17 crashes 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.

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‘‘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.

State Police said traffic along the interstate 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 and ambulances could get to the wrecked vehicles.

Overhead message boards warned drivers beginning about 6 a.m. Sunday to slow down because of the severe fog, Geller said.

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