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3 killed in 95-vehicle pileup in Virginia

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By The Associated Press
Sunday, March 31, 2013, 8:51 p.m.

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

Police said traffic on Interstate 77 in southwest Virginia backed up for about 8 miles in the southbound lanes. Authorities closed the northbound lanes so firetrucks, 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 about 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.

Overhead message boards had warned drivers since 6 a.m. to slow because of the 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.

School buses took stranded people to shelters and hotels.

Authorities reopened the northbound lanes on Sunday night.

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