As of Wednesday afternoon, a major pileup in LaPorte County is almost completely cleaned up. More than 25 cars and semis were involved in the accident. It happened around 7 a.m. on I-94 near Michigan City.
Westbound lanes of I-94 re-opened about three o'clock Wednesday afternoon. The accident shutdown part of westbound I-94 for about eight hours.
Considering the number of vehicles involved, Indiana State Police say there were only five people injured and none of those injuries were life-threatening.
As one firefighter on the scene put it, “There were a lot of guardian angels on the road today.” Drivers we talked to say there was ice and white-out conditions on the interstate where this accident happened. Several drivers told us they even slowed to 35 to 40 miles per hour and still found themselves sliding into this pileup.
At least two semi-trailers spilled their contents onto the road. About 350 gallons of diesel fuel was lost and Haz-Mat helped with the cleanup. “We were just rounding the bend about 7:15 and I was just saying to Dave ‘It doesn't look to bad’ and I said ‘Whoa, whoa’ and we were very lucky, hit a pole, otherwise we would have slid right into the van," says Mary Ann Jensen, who was car-pooling to work with a co-worker Wednesday morning, when their car was hit.
“So as I was coming down, going like 35 and the one truck, he came past me going real fast and he jack-knifed in front of me and then I bumped into him and then everybody else, like a chain reaction, just kept coming into accident," says Arthur Spence, a trucker involved in the accident.
Since I-94 had to be shutdown for cleanup, dozens of people were stranded in their cars for hours. A warming van was brought in for anyone that needed to get out of the elements.
From initial reports, police say a combination of weather conditions, slick roads, and speed caused this accident.