Discuss as:

1 killed, 16 injured in 50-car pileup in Tenn.

Mark Humphrey / AP

A firefighter works at a crash site on Thursday in Hendersonville, Tenn. One person was dead and several were injured in a chain-reaction crash.

 A small car plowed into the back of a mail truck early Thursday, killing one person in one of several chain-reaction collisions of 50 cars on a fogbound highway near Nashville.

The name of the deceased victim has been identified as 28-year-old Paul Warren of Hendersonville, Tenn.

Police were treating the incident as four separate wrecks that all happened within the span of a few minutes in Hendersonville, Tenn.

Hendersonville police say the series of wrecks began at 6:56 a.m.  Traffic stopped and another pile-up happened.  The third pile-up was the one that caused Warren's death.  The fourth crash happened shortly thereafter.

 The wrecks covered a two-mile stretch of Vietnam Vets Boulevard, beginning roughly at the bridge over Gallatin Road and ending close to the Saundersville Road exit.

Read the original story on WSMV

Thick fog and black ice are possible factors in the crashes.  A Hendersonville police lieutenant says there was black ice on the roadway, but investigators have not determined that to be the official cause of the pileup.

16 others injured
Eight people were taken to Hendersonville Medical Center with minor injuries and later released, according to hospital spokeswoman Shawna Zodi.

Eight other people, two children and six adults, were transported to Sumner Regional Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

As the fog lifted, damaged vehicles could be seen along a couple of miles of Vietnam Veterans Parkway in Hendersonville.

"I would compare it to a racetrack when there's been a pileup," said Ray McLaughlin, a district chief with the Hendersonville Fire Department. "Everyone started bouncing off one another."

The chief said emergency workers counted 179 vehicles stopped at the crash scene, 50 of which had collided.

Other than the one death, most of the injuries were neck and back complaints, McLaughlin said.

One school bus was involved, but no children were hurt, said Sgt. Jim Vaughn with Hendersonville police.

People involved in the wreck who were not injured were taken to the Sumner County Administration building in Gallatin.

Traffic returned to normal at about 12:30 p.m.

This article includes reporting from NBC station WSMV in Nashville and The Associated Press.

More news and feature stories from msnbc.com: