"I've never seen anything like it."
That was the reaction of one witness upon driving past a series of massive pileups along a five-mile stretch of interstate in Denver. One person was killed and almost three dozen were injured in the traffic nightmare on northbound I-25 Saturday.
Denver police say in all, 104 vehicles were involved. The interstate was closed for hours. It reopened late Saturday afternoon.
Images from the scene, which spanned from Broadway to University, showed complete disarray: crushed cars scattered across the roadway, vehicles literally on top of vehicles, car doors flung at odd angles. Dazed occupants milling around on cell phones, trying to make sense of what just happened.
"The cars just kept coming and sliding into each other," Kimberly Fowler told sister station KCNC.
The biggest of the three multi-vehicle crashes occurred at the Logan exit around 10:40 a.m. It involved 45 vehicles, and was where the single fatality occurred.
One of the drivers told KCNC he found himself underneath another car--but walked away without a scratch.
“I felt that windshield would have kept caving in if I kept getting hit, so my first reaction was to get out of the car, which was a horrible idea. I got out of the car dazed, and thank God there was a lady right next to me. The window was halfway rolled down, and she said ‘get back in your car! Everybody get back in your car,’” Carlos Davila recalled.
Investigators believe poor visibility from fog and icy roads contributed to the massive collision. Driver Sean McLaughlin told KCNC the conditions deteriorated rapidly.
“It just went from great visibility from half a mile up the road to almost nothing down in here,” McLaughlin said.
"It was snowing and the roads were slick," Kourtney Coupe told 11 News. "It looked like people were just trying to slow down, and everyone kept hitting each other."
Coupe said she got caught in the middle of it, but was uninjured and her car not damaged.
Another victim told sister station KCNC that the crash was a "chain reaction."
"[It] all happened so fast," she said.
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