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3 dead and over 20 injured in pileup on I-94 in Indiana

MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. (AP) - About 30 vehicles, half of the semitrailers, collided amid whiteout conditions in a massive highway pileup that left three people dead and more than 20 others injured in northwestern Indiana, police said.

The pileup on Interstate 94 Thursday afternoon involved about 15 semitrailers and about 15 passenger vehicles and pickup trucks, according to Indiana State Police.

One injured person remained trapped in a vehicle hours after the pileup began, police said.

"They're still trying to get to all the vehicles. They are cutting and extricating the vehicles," LaPorte County Coroner John Sullivan told The Associated Press amid the rescue effort.

The accident happened near Michigan City, about a 60-mile drive from Chicago, and amid snowy, frigid conditions. I-94 is the main highway heading east from Chicago to Michigan and Indiana and is the main thoroughfare between the nation's third-largest city and Detroit.

Photos of the scene showed at least a dozen semitrailers jammed together the width of the highway near an overpass. Some passenger cars were sandwiched in the wreckage.

National Weather Service meteorologist Evan Bentley said heavy snow was reported in the area at the time of the crash. He said a band of lake effect snow moved in late in the afternoon, dropping 1 to 2 inches of snow per hour and reducing visibility to a quarter mile or less, with some reports of visibility near zero.

The temperature in Michigan City was around 10 degrees on Thursday night.

The city provided two buses that were used to warm people and transport the injured to hospitals, police said.

Eastbound I-94 was expected to remain closed through the night, police said. Cranes and wreckers were being brought in to help clear the scene.

Franciscan St. Anthony Health in Michigan City had received at least 10 patients, said Dr. Jim Callaghan, president of the hospital.

Six people from the accident were taken to IU Health LaPorte Hospital, a nursing supervisor there said.

Dixie Juchcinski told WMAQ-TV that the accident occurred amid whiteout conditions.

"It was kind of a surprise to us because we could only see one or two cars in front of us," Juchcinski said.

Another witness, Laura Burcham, told WLS-TV she was "in tears just looking at it."

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WILD BILL January 24 2014 at 9:21 AM


Flag Reply +5 rate up
fastfatty1945 January 23 2014 at 10:12 PM

I hated driving a truck up there to many idiots going way over the speed limit, even the cops drove like maniacs. Glad I retired before I wound up in a big mess like that. Does not matter how good a driver you are when your surounded by idiots.

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1 reply
bkoster2 fastfatty1945 January 23 2014 at 10:27 PM


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gofastwoody January 24 2014 at 8:46 AM

And,THANK YOU and GOD BLESS all those 1st Responders for staying in the very frigid cold.Trying to save these helpless people trapped under semi's and coldest weather.

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1 reply
xgmanstark gofastwoody January 24 2014 at 9:04 AM

Amen, amen, amen

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bb47ishere January 23 2014 at 10:23 PM

I've been out here for 30 years and can say without a doubt following too close was the problem. Not only in good weather, but weather like this everyone has to run bunched up together leaving no room for an out. I can't tell you how many times I've seen this happen over the years. It's truly sad that people don't realize in a split second lives are changed. Also, for those of you who say "we don't know how to drive on snow and ice", need to realize you northerners don't know how to drive either...

Flag Reply +7 rate up
2 replies
Larry bb47ishere January 23 2014 at 10:40 PM

here we go with the yankee inbred sht . the only thing you were right about was following too close. i always did allow plenty of room . but looking back, as i hung up my spurs 10 years ago, looking back i gouged on it many time too, in bad weather. i must of nuts, but movin the produce, swingin meat, i gotta go, lucky i'm alive. roads full of 6 week wonders now. most of us old farts gave it up. no money too much BS i often wonder how many of my breed did the same. yep, smokey and the bandit days, the last american cowboy are gone.

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snowtraction bb47ishere January 23 2014 at 10:43 PM

IF ONLY drivers WOULD slow down for conditions and leave MORE room!

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Dirk Smith January 23 2014 at 10:24 PM

That area from Valparaiso to South Bend is a constant hazard. Located at the bottom of Lake Michigan, it routinely gets lake effect snow.

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2 replies
roseyoungstewart Dirk Smith January 23 2014 at 10:42 PM

everybodyin the northeastfrom great lakes down to virginia gets lake effect snow.

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Ron Dirk Smith January 23 2014 at 10:45 PM

Finally, someone in here who knows what he's typing about!!!!! This area has been the worst hit all winter long. There are pile-ups from Indiana to Battle Creek, MI all day long. Another big one was 10-1/2 miles inside the Michigan state line.

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Robert Miano January 24 2014 at 8:32 AM

dangerous conditions, need to shut down the highway to avoid a pile up.

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pjl900 January 23 2014 at 10:30 PM

I am wondering if someone attempted to change lanes and slid causing the pile up.

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1 reply
mproviderone pjl900 January 23 2014 at 10:38 PM


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jimebear January 24 2014 at 8:27 AM

I don't understand why there is not some sort of ALERT and/or CLOSURE Of ROADS when these conditions get this bad!
How many other people will have to die before this plan is implemented? Just like in Orlando a couple of years ago, when smoke from local forest fires combined with fog, made visibility zero, but they didn't close the interstate until there were multiple accidents and death. Now the highway patrol can close the interstate if they feel driving conditions are LIFE THREATENING! Either give them the authority to close roads, or drive at your own risk of getting injured or killed in an accident. There isn't anything in those trucks that can't wait a day. Post a sign at the grocery store or wherever saying that due to weather conditions, there will be a delay in getting pop tarts re-stocked!

Flag Reply +7 rate up
2 replies
iceonfire1878 jimebear January 24 2014 at 8:42 AM

I so agree with you! I drove a semi for 11 years and I am a huge wuss when it comes to bad weather. At the first sign the weather was going to be terrible, I shut that baby down. My life is worth more than a trailer full of toothpaste or cat food. They do close roads, but only when the weather is so bad they get completely impassible. For the last 8 years that I drove, I would save enough between April and October to pay the bills for November through March and stay home, nice and cozy with my family. Katie

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smattle22 jimebear January 24 2014 at 8:54 AM

They do issue alerts....at least where I live and the snow comes in so quickly that there is not much you can do about it. They get the plow trucks out as quickly as possible....all depends on when it hits and if you are on the highway....they can't close the road or people are stuck there with no alternate route....and usually the alternate routes are going to be more dangerous to drive on because they will clean the highways first.

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lzukas January 23 2014 at 10:42 PM

I would like to say I agree with a lot of the comments about driving too close, too fast & not leaving yourself an out..."THE GOLDEN RULE!!". I was driving from MA to VT last Saturday with snow falling, 33 degrees. then 31 degrees & heavy snow sticking on I91 north then suddenly no one used the left lane...all cars slowed to 40 mph in the right lane & traveled caravan style! I had to pinch myself to make sure I was not dreaming.....common sense prevailed on Saturday night!!!

Flag Reply +3 rate up
SANDRA A.SWANSON January 23 2014 at 10:43 PM

If you bought it a trucker brought it.

Flag Reply +8 rate up
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