Nightly News | November 23, 2012
>>> we are learning more tonight about that awful chain-reaction pileup on thanksgiving morning on the highway outside beaumont, texas. more than 100 cars and trucks collided in a huge mangled mess that stretched for miles down i-10 in heavy fog. two people lost their lives, dozens more were hurt. but some are alive tonight because of quick thinking from other survivors. our report from nbc's tom costello.
>> reporter: it took more than nine hours to clear the wreckage from i-10 in east texas . 100 cars smashed, nearly 100 people injured. and two dead, a husband and wife, their suv crushed by an 18-wheeler.
>> it is like he was jumping around, he was in the air, air borne, taking these cars with him.
>> reporter: police credit good samaritans with helping to save lives. kate is a nurse who rushed to help another family as the chain reaction continued.
>> so i jumped in the car, got the little boy , closed the door, we braced each other.
>> reporter: this man managed to free nine accident victims.
>> you really couldn't see because of the fog, i started to help people out of the cars.
>> reporter: the fog was described as a death trap . four years ago, a deadly mix of brush and smoke caused a pileup on i-4 in florida, killing four. in california, in 2007 , dense fog caused this 100-car pileup near fresno that killed two. and this is the time of year when fog can move in quickly.
>> you get the longer, cooler nights basically allowing the temperature to cool all the way where the moisture can condense and create the thick fog.
>> reporter: fog is famous for distorting a driver's speed and perception. don't forget to use the high beam, overall, traffic fatalities continue to decline year around. thanksgiving, 2006 , to a projected 421 deaths this year, a huge drop. this is a time of year for families with 39 million of us driving over these four days. and sunday will be the most busy day when so many people start to head back home. tom costello, nbc news, washington.