WHITE MARSH, Md. (AP) – At least 86 vehicles crashed in 11 separate accidents on Interstate 95 Saturday, a string of collisions apparently triggered by sunlight shining off sleet that had just been dumped by a fast-moving storm.

At least 49 people were injured, some seriously, but no deaths were reported in the crashes along an 11-mile stretch of I-95 in suburban Baltimore.

The accidents started happening about 4:30 p.m. after hail and rain fell on the highway.

Cindy James, of Woodbridge Va., said the road wasn’t slippery but the glare was unusually strong from sleet on the road, even while wearing sunglasses.

“Everybody stopped because of the glare and the sleet,” said James’ 15-year-old daughter, Veronica.

Susan Whickers, of Baltimore, said she knew she was in trouble when drivers in all four lanes slammed on their brakes.

“I was thinking, “Oh God,’ because the car in front of us went right under a tractor-trailer,” Whickers said.

Leslie Baker, an emergency medical technician with the Joppa Magnolia Volunteer Fire Company, said she knew of 49 people who had been injured, including 22 in one crash involving a bus with 30 people aboard.

Baker said that while she was helping at that accident, she saw other crashes happen, one involving a tractor-trailer running over another vehicle.

Five people being treated at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma were in serious condition, a spokeswoman said. Ten people were sent to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, a hospital spokeswoman said.

There also were numerous minor injuries, the state police said, but the total number of people transported to hospitals was not immediately clear.

Maryland State Police Cpl. Rob Moroney said the pileup was worse than an 89-car pileup last year on Interstate 68 in western Maryland.

“It’s just unbelievable,” Moroney said. “Amazingly, amazingly, so far, we have no fatalities. We’re very, very, very, very happy that it’s gone that way so far.”

A section of I-95 was closed in both directions, but authorities reopened the northbound lanes late Saturday night. Authorities hoped to open the southbound lanes early Sunday morning.



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