This past Friday, I-94 near Kalamazoo experienced a horrific and tragic car crash pile-up unlike anything anybody has ever seen. After a troublesome mixture of ice, moisture, and snow began to fall in Kalamazoo County, the roadways become very slippery. This potent mix led to a 193-vehicle pile-up going in both directions along the interstate.
The pile-up involved an astounding 76 semi-trucks. 59 of the semi-trucks crashed in the westbound lanes. However, in the eastbound lanes a tanker truck hauling formic acid crashed causing a toxic spill. The tanker blocked all eastbound lanes and it took an entire day to clean the spill. Incredibly, due to the hazardous materials, residents within 3 miles of the crash were required to evacuate their homes Friday afternoon.
Another semi-truck carried 34,000 pounds of fireworks, causing explosions that set additional vehicles on fire. This caused further damage on the highway.
The highway itself was closed from almost 48 hours. Both sides of the highway were closed Friday morning, soon after the crashes began.
Tragically, there is one death involving a semi-truck driver from Quebec. In total, there were 23 injuries – including two firemen – with motorists taken to various area hospitals. One individual was airlifted to a hospital in Battle Creek.
Motorists and witnesses at the accident scene noted large patches of black ice long the roadway. Temperatures were very low at the time the crashes began – approximately 13 degrees – and the moisture on the roadway froze quickly. When motorists, and especially semi-trucks, hit the black ice they were unable to control their vehicles. This created a cascade like event where vehicles and semis were slamming into already disabled vehicles along both sides of the highway.
Black ice is an extremely dangerous road condition that all Michigan motorists must watch out for. These dangerous patches can appear out of nowhere. Under the law, motorists have a duty to use reasonable care and caution when driving and it is important to drive slow and leave plenty of room between you and the car in front of you when driving in black ice conditions.
The Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C. has been helping Michigan car wreck victims for over 40 years. We represent people injured in Michigan car accidents and Michigan truck accidents.
If you have any questions, let our experienced team of Michigan auto accidents answer them. Call us at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) for a free consultation.