No serious injuries in I-96 pileup that involved 150 vehicles
A massive pileup along Interstate 96 in west Michigan over the weekend damaged dozens of cars but luckily no one was seriously injured.
According to Michigan State Police, 86 cars were damaged and 66 slid off the road. No serious injuries were reported; 16 people were transported to the hospital, State Police tweeted.
The crashes occurred around 4:30 p.m. Saturday on a five-mile stretch on eastbound I-96 near Grand River Avenue and Portland Road in Portland in Ionia County, according to MSP. There were reports of white-out conditions. The highway reopened about 10 p.m. Saturday.
Shyanne Queen, 30, of Grand Rapids was driving eastbound I-96 between the Grand River and Portland exits when she and her daughter feared a vehicle would it theirs near the end of the pileup.
"I told my daughter to move to the front seat from the back in case we got sandwiched," Queen told The Detroit News on Saturday. "Fortunately, we never got hit, and the pileup stopped with us and the car behind me."
The Portland Area Fire Authority alerted at about 4:40 p.m. on Saturday on Facebook about the pileup.
"We are working a 50+ car accident on I96 around 77mm to the 72mm Avoid the highway," fire officials said.
A lake-effect snow advisory was in effect for portions of central, south-central, southwest and west-central Michigan until 2 a.m. Sunday, with snow accumulations of 1-3 inches and wind gusts as high as 35 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
"Occasional whiteout conditions in falling and blowing snow continue this evening. Radar and satellite show "cellular" lake effect snow as steep lapse rate, high inversion height, and March sun combine to bring snow "downpours,"' the weather service tweeted just after 6 p.m.
Inversion heights, according to the weather service, are a key regulator of lake-effect snow intensity.
"Deeper updrafts will mean heavier precipitation (whether rain or snow)," the weather service tweeted.
The Michigan Department of Transportation reported the closing of the freeway near exit 73 in a tweet. Westbound and eastbound I-96 were affected; authorities asked drivers to avoid that stretch of freeway.
At 9:34 p.m., MSP said lanes heading westbound had opened while troopers continued to clear the remaining vehicles in the eastbound lanes. Less than an hour later, MSP tweeted, "The freeway is back open," along with MDOT confirming all lanes after the Portland Road exit were open.
A warming and family reunification center was set up at the Portland Church of the Nazarene in Portland for those involved in the crash, MSP said on Twitter.
"Buses are being used to transport involved parties. Family members can pick up at that location after giving info to troopers," MSP said.