At least three people died and 14 others were injured in a multiple-vehicle pileup on the highway connecting the city of Queretaro with the Mexican capital, officials told Efe Wednesday.

The accident occurred at 12:15 p.m. (1815 GMT) at Kilometer 85 along the Mexico-Queretaro highway and involved 17 vehicles, among them a truck transporting molasses which was the one that caused the chain-reaction crash.

The head of the Federal Roads and Bridges department, known as Capufe, in Queretaro, Roberto Alfonso Lopez, said that the truck was exceeding the speed limit when the driver lost control, and it crashed through the central highway barrier and went into the oncoming lanes, colliding with several vehicles head-on.

Authorities closed the highway for a number of hours after the crash, finally opening just one lane while cleanup work proceeded in the others.

Each year in Mexico, some 24,000 people are killed in the country's roughly four million traffic accidents. EFE