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State police reveal what caused ‘apocalyptic’ 75-car pileup on I-64

Posted at 7:20 PM, Jan 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-11 21:37:34-05

YORK COUNTY, Va. -- Virginia State Police said a patch of black ice was to blame for a 75-car pileup on westbound Interstate 64 near Williamsburg last month.

The Virginian-Pilot reports a statement from police said investigators believe a motorist lost control of their vehicle, spun out and was hit by other vehicles at the start of the pile-up in Upper York County on Dec. 22 just after 7:50 a.m.

"Due to icy conditions on the bridge and severe fog, the crashes continued in both the westbound and then the eastbound lanes of I-64," Sgt. Michelle Anaya with Virginia State Police previously said.

At the nearest weather station in Williamsburg, the fog had reduced visibility to less than a quarter-mile 20 minutes before the crash occurred.

State police also said Friday the number of vehicles in the crash totaled 75. That is up from the 69 previously reported and the first reports of around 30 cars involved.

 'Apocalyptic' 69-car pileup on I-64

'Apocalyptic' 69-car pileup on I-64

Crash victim: 'I just ran into people'

A man who survived the pileup called what he witnessed to an “apocalyptic moment.”

“It was one second I was getting on the bridge,” Bray Hollowell told WTVR CBS 6 hours after the crash. “The other second, I was braking and trying to get out of the way."

Hollowell said the crash was not in a work zone, but was not far from a construction zone.

“It was two lanes,” Hollowell said. “It’s just a rough place to drive, so traffic was more compact and squished together.”

Hollowell said the weather turned quickly.

“It really just got really foggy really quick,” he said. “And I just was driving on the bridge and then out of nowhere I see an accident and I just brake. And I couldn't really do much to avoid. I just ran into people.”

“It was actually an apocalyptic moment,” Hollowell said. “So I just got out of the car and there was this one lady who was kind of across the street from me, if you would. She had tried to get out of the car pretty early and actually ended up getting hit by another car.”

Hollowell said everyone involved in the crash was "really lucky.”

"From what I saw, and from the amount of people who were able to walk, and just kind of go on with their lives is really fortunate and something I’m thankful for,” Hollowell said.

Officials said no charges have been filed as multiple crash investigations remain ongoing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.