GALESBURG, Mich. (AP) — More than 100 vehicles were involved in pileups on a snowy Michigan interstate on Friday, killing a trucker and igniting fires on semis carrying fireworks and acid, police said.
Snow, wind and poor visibility were blamed for the chain reaction of crashes on both sides of Interstate 94 in Kalamazoo County, 150 miles east of Chicago. The interstate wasn’t expected to reopen until late Friday or Saturday.
“As you can imagine, it’s not easy to count vehicles as they pile up,” said Michigan State Police Lt. Rick Pazder, who pegged the number at 123.
Police urged everyone within a 3-mile radius to evacuate the rural area, but that order was lifted by early afternoon once all hazardous materials on the trucks had burned off.
A trucker from Ottawa, Canada, was killed and at least 23 people with injuries were taken to hospitals in Battle Creek and Kalamazoo, Pazder said. Motorists who were not injured were taken by bus to warming centers.
The crashes were reported between mile markers 88 and 92, near Galesburg.
Elsewhere in Michigan, weather-related crashes closed major roads in Monroe, Saginaw, Kent and Genesee counties.