10-vehicle pileup backs up I-94 in SW Michigan

A ten-vehicle collision backed up traffic on I-94 West in Chikaming Twp. Thursday.

Michigan State Police closed an eastbound portion of the interstate between mile markers 16 and 23 earlier in the day. Lt. Mike Dawson said several semi-trucks had jack knifed and slid off the roadway. Police decided it would be safer and quicker to clear away the wreckage by shutting down the road.

Hours later a pileup in the westbound side I-94 blocked traffic for miles. Drivers told NewsCenter 16 they were slowing down to avoid another accident farther down the road.

“Believe it or not I’ve seen worse,” said Harold Wells. Wells was driving a truck immediately behind the vehicles that crashed, he said he looked down for a second and when he looked back at the road there was a “wall of trucks.”

“All over carnage, wrecked vehicles, cars under trucks,” Wells added. He was forced to lock his brakes and slide between a truck and a ditch in order to safely stop. Wells then jumped out to check each of the cars involved to make sure everyone was alright.

Police reported four people were hurt, including two children who were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Officials believe slick road conditions are to blame, however drivers said they saw another pickup truck spin out and leave the scene.

Crashes along the interstate remind drivers to slow down, especially during inclement weather.

Michigan State Police responded to slide offs and jack-knifed trucks along the interstate between Benton Harbor down to the state line.

“It just gets to the point where conditions are not safe enough for people to drive down the road,” Lt. Dawson said.

Lt. Dawson explained that the salt and abrasives on the roadways are unable to melt the ice hiding beneath a fresh layer of snow, “when people don’t slow down their speed, they crash.”

US 12 near Three Oaks, Michigan, saw slow moving traffic as a result of whiteout conditions. Drivers at a gas station said they were driving nearly half the speed limit with their hazard lights flashing.

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