Authorities in Virginia blamed heavy fog for a 95-car pileup on a mountainous stretch of road that left three people dead and 25 others injured Sunday afternoon.

The Associated Press reported on Monday that the incident backed up traffic along Interstate 77 for eight miles near the state border with North Carolina.

The mass accident was touched off by an 8-car accident, the first of 17 crashes near the base of Fancy Gap Mountain.

"This mountain is notorious for fog banks," said Glen Sage, who works for a nearby office of the American Red Cross. "They have advance signs warning people. But the problem is, people are seeing well and suddenly they're in a fog bank."

One witness, Linda Alexander, told WSOC-TV on Sunday she and her family saw the pileup unfold, with cars hitting one another and piling on two semitrailers that had collided.

"All we could hear was just explosions," she said. "So we jumped out of our truck and we grabbed our granddaughters and we just ran, all the way up to the top of that ramp, and people just started running and all we could see was just flames."

The incident was the third mass pileup in the area in the past 13 years. Previous crashes in 2000 and 2010 killed two people. Traffic along the mountain was reopened early Monday morning.

Watch WSOC's report on the freak wreck, aired Monday, below.