DONALDSONVILLE, La. (AP) - Three separate traffic accidents over about a mile-long stretch of a foggy highway involved 21 vehicles and left one person dead Tuesday morning in south Louisiana, state police said.
"We're not sure of the exact cause of it, but weather is definitely going to be a factor. The fog was very heavy this morning," Trooper Jared Sandifer said as tow trucks hummed and workers labored to clear the two-lane Louisiana Highway 1 of damaged trucks and cars compacted like accordions.
Sandifer said 62-year-old Donald L. Jenkins, of Plaquemine, was killed. Injuries to six others in the accidents were described as minor.
The crashes happened around 5 a.m., in early morning darkness and thick fog next to freshly harvested sugar cane fields just north of the town of Donaldsonville, roughly 40 miles west of New Orleans. Four of the vehicles involved were trucks, empty at the time, that are used to haul sugar cane.
"There's a large sugar cane refinery not far from this area," Sandifer said. "For being a small road, this time of year it's pretty heavily traveled."
The fatality happened in a crash involving six vehicles, state police Capt. Doug Cain said. Another accident involved 12 vehicles and still another, three.
Emergency vehicles lined up well into the late-morning hours as fog began lifting and banged-up vehicles were removed from the scene.
Workers cleared and reopened the highway by Tuesday afternoon, more than six hours after the crash shut down the roadway and caused traffic snarls.
McGill reported from New Orleans.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)