2 dead, 59 hurt in 40-vehicle New Orleans pileup

December 29, 2011 - 3:45 PM

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Police say two men have been killed and 59 people hurt in a 40-vehicle pileup that closed Interstate 10 for hours in eastern New Orleans.

Officer Garry Flot said 22 people were taken to hospitals with minor to critical injuries while 37 others refused treatment for minor injuries after the pileup around 4 a.m. Thursday. Flot says one firefighter was hurt while working at the scene.

Flot said the dead were identified as the driver of a pickup truck and a 54-year-old passenger in another pickup. The crash occurred on the interstate lanes heading toward the city's business district. Eastbound lanes were restricted to emergency vehicles.

I-10 remained closed in early afternoon.

Police were investigating the cause, including whether fog or smoke limited visibility.