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85-vehicle pileup kills two in western Maryland

Nearly 100 injured on foggy interstate

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Rescue personnel inspect wrecked cars after a multi-vehicle accident in western Maryland.

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FINZEL, Maryland (CNN) -- Two people were killed and nearly 100 injured Friday after 85 vehicles were involved in a series of accidents on a fog-covered highway, officials said.

Garrett County police communications operator Bill Wiltison told CNN that a 17-mile stretch of Interstate 68 is closed in both directions, though the wrecked vehicles are all on the westbound side.

Wiltison said the first accident occurred around 1:20 p.m., and the largest accident, involving about 50 vehicles, happened almost an hour later.

"It's the fog," he said, referring to the cause of the pileup. "It's really thick up there."

A total of 61 people have been taken to Sacred Heart Hospital and Memorial Hospital in Cumberland, Maryland, said Kathy Rogers, spokeswoman for Western Maryland Health System, which runs both hospitals.

One victim in critical condition was being transferred to the University of Maryland's Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, more than 100 miles away, she said.

Wrecked vehicles line Interstate 68 in western Maryland.
Wrecked vehicles line Interstate 68 in western Maryland.

Many others have been treated and released, Rogers said.

Many of the people involved in the accidents had been headed out of town for the Memorial Day holiday, Wiltison said.

"Everyone's headed here for the weekend," he said. "It's the getaway place for people in Baltimore and Philadelphia."

About 30 ambulances were on the scene, Wiltison said, and crews were trying to move cars off the road so other emergency vehicles could get in.


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