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1 dead, 16 injured in Tennessee crashes involving 176 cars

From Dave Alsup, CNN
updated 4:52 PM EST, Thu December 1, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The crashes began occurring just before 8 a.m. ET, authorities say
  • Heavy fog and black ice were present at the time
  • The 16 people were not critically injured

(CNN) -- One person was killed and 16 others injured Thursday in three separate chain-reaction crashes involving 176 cars north of Nashville, authorities said.

Heavy fog and black ice were thought to have contributed to the crashes on State Highway 386 in Sumner County, said county emergency medical services Capt. Vincent Riley.

The incidents began just before 8 a.m. ET, when a car ran off the highway and caused a chain reaction accident in "heavy, heavy fog," he said.

At least one school bus, with children aboard, was involved in the crashes, he said. None of the children were injured.

The man who died was driving a compact car that went under a semitrailer, Riley said.

The 16 people transported to local hospitals were not critically injured, he said.

The highway remained closed throughout most of the day as authorities attempted to clear the wreckage. As of Thursday afternoon, one side of the highway was still blocked with 50 cars that were not driveable and must be towed, Riley said.

A fog advisory was not in effect for the area at the time of the crashes, said CNN meteorologist Sarah Dillingham, but the heavy fog could have been a localized event.

CNN's Joe Sutton contributed to this report.

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