Dangerous Stretch In Berrien County

By: Sarah Platt Email
By: Sarah Platt Email

One of the areas that is feeling the brunt of the lake effect snow is Berrien County. And anyone commuting on I-94 Tuesday, especially during the morning, knows how treacherous the roads can be in this weather.

After a couple days of digging out, St. Joe remains a very quiet town this evening. The snow is keeping the usual flow of people and traffic to a minimum tonight. Tuesday’s whiteout snow conditions were so bad that it forced east and westbound I-94 to close for about four hours Tuesday morning.

The lake effect snow took some drivers by surprise. “Right now, it's really bad,” says semi-truck driver Larry Johnson.

Another trucker, “I was in upstate New York and roads are not this bad!”

Between about 7 and 11 a.m. Tuesday morning, Michigan State Police say more than a dozen semi-trucks slid off the interstate. That's not even counting the cars that went off the road.

“ We had about 16 semi's in the median and the reason for that was the whiteout situation,” says Lt. Willie Mays, with the Michigan State Police.

One of those semi slide-offs was this near the Livingston Road overpass. Another was near Sawyer, right by Exit 12. “Highways are designed to push you off into median, that's a safety feature, but on same token, got to get rescue vehicles out and that causes problems too,” adds Mays.

Although I-94 has since re-opened, a fickle flow of flurries is a reason to take it slow. “If you're going to fast, it's easy to loose it quickly, I'm going 40 or 45 mph, starts looking good, go 50- then I hang about there,” says Johnson.

Some truckers we chatted with say despite the warnings, there are still a lot of people driving too fast for conditions. “Just look out for other fellow men and be safe, postpone delivery time and get there when you can,” says trucker David Thomas, whose traveling in Michigan from South Carolina.

Michigan State Police are also advising people to stay off their cell phones in this weather and take the old advice of two hands on the wheel. Police had extra crews out Tuesday, manning
I-94. Fortunately, there were no major injuries.

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