Severe fog leads to I-12 pileup & closure

There was approximately 30 vehicles involved total all smashing like a sandwich into each other.”

Twenty vehicles were involved in a pileup on I-12 eastbound in Denham Springs around the Pete Hwy. overpass around 12:30am on Jan. 1st. that shut down the interstate for hours.

Denham Springs Police’s Sgt. Scott Sterling said thankfully, all the injuries were reported as minor or moderate.

“All we know is people started slowing down due to weather and no visibility which led to people getting rear-ended starting the pile up,” said Sterling.

Of the 20 vehicles, 16 were passenger vehicles, three tractor trailers, and a heavy duty wrecker. In total, 12 vehicles were towed, which included 9 passenger vehicles, 2 tractor trailers, and 1 heavy duty wrecker.

In total, seven ambulances were called but only five made it to the scene. One person was transported for a minor injury.

Many drivers have described the overnight fog as one of the worst they have ever seen.

Caitlin Verberne was one of the people caught in the pileup.

“We were driving home with our two children and her friend when we were heading east passing the O’Neal exit,” said Verberne. “We knew it was foggy but it was still a visible fog at the time to be able to see in front of you. Out of the blue it became so white like we were driving on the clouds when we came up on three vehicles who had crashed.”

“I asked my husband to pull over that they need help. We slowed down, i rolled my windows down to see and that’s when it all happened, someone rear-ended us. We almost rear-ended someone else. We had to take the shoulder to get out of everything. All you can do is hear the metal to metal crunching everywhere and see the visible debris covering I-12,” she said.


“People were yelling ‘help me’ so my husband takes off to go help once all is clear and the crashing had stopped. I will physically never be able to get that sound out of my head. Being in the medical field, I have never felt so helpless in my life. The fog became a five foot visible appearance at that time. There was approximately 30 vehicles involved total all smashing like a sandwich into each other. It was thick fog, dark, and beyond the scariest thing we have gone through. This is something you see on tv that just came to life!”

Drivers on I-12 eastbound at the Pete’s Hwy overpass said they could not see much and it’s why many people were driving with their emergency flashers activated.

Denham PD shut down I-12 eastbound for nearly five hours due to the interstate blocked from the amount of cars in the crash and debris on the interstate like all the limes. The interstate officially reopened at 5:21am.

“We consider ourselves and everyone involved extremely lucky,” said Sgt. Sterling.

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