The chain reaction crashes occurred in both directions of a six mile stretch of I-40 between Mebane and Graham. The initial series of crashes involving about 25 vehicles happened in the eastbound lanes of I-40 near Jimmie Kerr Road overpass. As crews worked to clean up this crash, traffic slowed in the westbound lanes, causing more crashes.
North Carolina State Troopers blamed the pile up on a combination of wet weather, fog, driving too fast for conditions, following too closely, not paying attention to the road, and rubbernecking. Police even reported that some of the crashes were caused by drivers slowing down to take photos and video of other crashes.
The westbound wrecks spread over 4 miles. The interstate remained closed at mile markers 148 and 150 almost five hours later, with heavy congestion continuing to cause delays estimated at an hour in some spots.
Ambulances from four counties carried about 20 people to hospitals with injuries that were not believed to be life-threatening. No one died.