GORMAN (CBSLA) – Approximately 30 vehicles were involved in major pileup on the I-5 Freeway southbound near Gorman Saturday just before 3 p.m.
In total, 16 people were transported to hospitals, and a toddler had to be airlifted out of the area and was said to be in critical condition.
After a thick fog thick fog blanketed the interstate, a car rear-ended a second vehicle, which then caught on fire.
The initial crash resulted in other vehicles slamming their brakes, causing a chain reaction crash.
Moments later, closer to Lebec, there were two other multi-car pile ups.
Rosalind Hayes, a commuter, described the event, “It was really foggy. Cars weren’t paying attention to what was going on. To where when I was slowing down braking, a car rear-ended me, which caused me to rear end another car.”
Commuter Ernest Danas said, “All of a sudden the visibility went down to almost nothing. So I just started slowing down. I got to this lane because I wanted to be able to get over, but when she hit him, I saw her up in the air and kicked out toward me. I went ‘I’m toast’.”
In addition to the injured commuters, a trailer carrying three horses was involved in the pileup.
First responders used the jaws of life to free the horses, rescuing two, while the third died from the crash.
The horses have been taken to an animal hospital for x-rays and treatment.
With the exception of the toddler in critical condition, the rest of the injuries were moderate to minor.
California Highway Patrol says people were simply driving to fast today.
Officers had been trying to slow things down on the roads right as the crashes happened.
Officials said there was poor visibility in the area, at one point falling below 100 feet.
The southbound side of the I-5 is open again, after it was shut down for about 4 hours.