updated 5/31/2006 8:03:20 PM ET 2006-06-01T00:03:20

Torrential rain and heavy traffic contributed to a series of wrecks involving about 80 vehicles during Wednesday morning’s rush hour, officials said.

Thirty-four people were injured, including one in serious condition, said Highway Patrol Lt. Everett Clendenin. Most of the other injuries were bumps and scratches, he said.

In all, there were 44 collisions along a five-mile stretch of Interstate 40, about 40 miles west of Raleigh.

The accidents started at about 7:30 a.m. when a minivan struck a stopped Greyhound bus. The driver of the van was taken from the scene by helicopter and hospitalized with serious injuries that weren’t considered life-threatening, Clendenin said. It was not immediately known if any passengers were injured.

The highway reopened by late morning, troopers reported.

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