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Dec 29, 2011 10:54 AM by AP

2 dead, 59 injured in pileup of about 40 vehicles

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Police said two men died and 59 people were hurt in a predawn pileup of about 40 vehicles that closed heavily trafficked Interstate 10 in eastern New Orleans through rush hour and beyond.

Officer Garry Flot said 22 people were taken to hospitals with minor to critical injuries, and another 37 refused treatment for minor injuries after the wrecks happened at about 4 a.m. on Thursday. He said a firefighter was injured while working at the scene.

Flot said the crash took place on the westbound lanes heading toward the city's business district and involved a wide variety of vehicles.

Both westbound and eastbound lanes were closed to permit emergency vehicles to access the area. Traffic was being detoured off the highway. It was unclear when I-10 will reopen.

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