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Chain-Reaction Crash Kills Five

May 8, 2000

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) _ A combination of dense fog and smoke from a forest fire are being blamed for a chain reaction of wrecks involving cars, trucks and buses that killed five people and injured dozens.

Twenty ambulances were needed to carry people to hospitals in Pascagoula and Mobile, Ala., after the crashes early Sunday on Interstate 10 near the Mississippi-Alabama state line. Wreckage was scattered along a quarter-mile stretch of the busy coastal highway.

Police said visibility was nearly zero.

``The fog and the smoke ended up being a solid blanket of white,″ said Highway Patrol Sgt. Vernon Gazzo.

A total of 16 cars, two chartered tour buses and a pair of 18-wheelers crashed.

``There was one accident and then bam, bam, bam all the way down the line,″ motorist Scottie McCarroll of Citronelle, Ala., told WALA-TV in Mobile. ``You could hear other traffic coming very fast and hitting on brakes and hitting each other and crashing and screaming and all kind of sounds and you couldn’t do anything.″

″(The) wrecks were still happening when I got out of the car,″ Brandi Williams told WLOX-TV of Biloxi. ``We did not know to stay in the car or get out and run.″

Police identified the victims as Charles P. Bryan, 56, and Robert Shular, 63, both of Sevierville, Tenn.; James Leon Ramer, 41, of Theodore, Ala.; and Clyde E. Kelley, 63, and Dianne Kelley, 52, both of Needham, Ala.

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