7-car pileup closes stretch of SB Loop 101 in Scottsdale for hours

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by Catherine Holland

Video report by Gina Maravilla and Bruce Haffner

Posted on March 16, 2012 at 7:51 AM

Updated Friday, Mar 16 at 10:05 AM

Map: Loop 101 and Indian Bend Road, McDonald Drive

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- A seven-car crash forced the closure of southbound Loop 101 Pima Freeway at Indian Bend Road, sparking major backups during Friday's morning commute.

It happened at 3 a.m.

The Department of Public Safety said there were no fatalities involved, but pointed out that there were some serious injuries and a detailed investigation was required, stressing that such operations take time.

Because of the possibility that impairment was a factor in the wreck, the investigation has gone from a straightforward traffic investigation to a criminal one, explained DPS spokesman Bart Graves.

"We want to make sure we have a very good case against these people if they are found to be at fault," he said.

Four people were injured in the pileup. One of those victims suffered serious head injuries. That person was behind the wheel of the first car that was hit.

"She was struck about four or five time by a DUI driver and then a succession of cars hitting those two cars, including a second possibly impaired driver," Graves said.

Investigators have not released any details about any of the drivers involved in the widespread wreck.

DPS had wrapped up its investigation by 9:30 a.m., allowing wreckers and cleanup crews to start clearing the scene.

The freeway was finally reopened to traffic shortly before 10 a.m., nearly seven hours hours after the chain-reaction crash.

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