Driver describes mayhem of 32-vehicle pileup on SH 130


Austin (KXAN) — More than 55 people, including a Travis County sheriff’s deputy, were involved in a wreck early Tuesday morning after a 32-vehicle pileup near southeast Austin.

Deputies and other agencies responded just after 1 a.m. to the 1400 block of State Highway 130 for reports of a major collision. They reported that dense fog and zero visibility led to the crash. 

“56 people were involved as drivers or passengers with 10 being transported to area hospitals,” the Travis County Sheriff’s Office wrote in a press release. Austin-Travis County EMS tweeted that two of the people had sustained serious injuries, but they are expected to be OK. 

Justin Lilley was one of the drivers involved in the wreck Tuesday. He struck another vehicle after he went through what he described as a “wall of fog.” 

“There was a vehicle in front of me,” Lilley explained, “and all of a sudden that vehicle just disappeared.” 

As he drove further into the fog, he kept coming across one car after another that had crashed. He ended up hitting a Kia Soul, which had already been totaled. Because his truck was in relatively good shape, he decided to turn around, drive back and warn other drivers.

“I drove up to the front, flashed my lights, put my road hazards on and stopped traffic up there,” Lilley said. 

He would like to commend the dozens of first responders, including a deputy whose own patrol unit was struck, for all their hard work helping victims and clearing the scene. 

“Those guys are there all night working, and not with their families. Because of people like that, we’re able to come home to ours,” Lilley said. “It’s amazing what those guys do every night, and they don’t get enough praise.”

Kristen Dark, a TCSO spokesperson, said the deputy involved was not injured. 

“The first deputy on scene attempted to warn motorists approaching the area, but due to the thick fog and zero visibility, his unit was struck by several vehicles as well,” the sheriff’s office wrote. “He managed to quickly move away from his vehicle just before it was hit.” 

The southbound lanes of SH-130 were reopened just before 9 a.m. after being closed for approximately seven hours, as officials investigated and damaged cars were removed and cleaned up. 

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