Law enforcement, first responders spend Monday cleaning up 29-ca - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Law enforcement, first responders spend Monday cleaning up 29-car pileup

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DANE COUNTY (WKOW) -- More than two dozen drivers found themselves in the middle of a chaotic morning rush hour crash that left one woman dead in the town of Verona.

Dane County investigators say thick fog is likely to blame for the 29-vehicle pileup on 18/151. Drivers reported not being able to see more than 10 feet in front of them before the crash.

"I heard one person said they just drove into a wall of fog and couldn't see anything and next thing they knew they were being hit by other vehicles," said Verona Fire Chief Joseph Giver, who responded to the scene. 

Many pulled over to wait it out, but 29 drivers, including three semi truckers, found themselves in the middle of chaos.

The mangled cars were still being towed off the road in the afternoon. The highway reopened shortly before 5 p.m., nine hours after the incident.

Investigators spent the day reconstructing the scene, trying to figure out what happened. 

"How much time people have to stop, what were the weather conditions, so they'll be looking at a number of factors," said Dane County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Elise Schaffer.

Verona firefighters were the first to respond to what was initially reported as a two-car crash. As the fog cleared, they saw the full extent of the incident and the team went into mass casualty response to get help from multiple other agencies.

 "I've been in the fire service 38 years and chief for 22 and this is the first incident of this size and magnitude I've responded to myself," Chief Giver said.

Firefighters had to cut two cars to get to the people inside. Six were were taken to the hospital. The 20 people who weren't hurt were bused to Verona Fire Department to meet with their families and talk with investigators about what happened.

Authorities say speed may have also contributed to the crash. People may have been going too fast for the foggy conditions.

Dane County sheriff's investigators ask anyone who saw the crash to call the tip line at (608) 284-6900 with any information.

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