More than 40 vehicles, many of them semitrailers, were involved in a massive pileup on a slippery stretch of Interstate 94 in northwestern Indiana that killed at least three people and injured 23 others.
The accident occurred near Michigan City, Ind., about 60 miles from Chicago around 3:30 p.m. ET on Thursday.
The Associated Press reports:
"Snow and whiteout conditions were contributing factors, state police said late Thursday night. A band of heavy lake-effect snow was reported on Thursday afternoon when the pileup began, dropping 1 to 2 inches of snow per hour and reducing visibility to a quarter-mile or less, National Weather Service meteorologist Evan Bentley said."
"The eastbound lanes of I-94 were closed for 14 miles as cranes and wreckers helped clear the scene and investigators tried to determine the chain of events, state police said, noting the investigation could take several weeks. The last vehicle, a semi, was removed around 6 a.m. Friday. Eastbound I-94 was still closed."
ABC7 has more photos here.
The AP quotes Scott Collins, 17, of Chesterton, Ind., who was riding in a car with three other teens when he witnessed the first collisions in the chain reaction:
" 'One of the semis started sliding and I think it jackknifed in the middle of the road' and collided with another semi, he said. 'After that happened, multiple semis locked up.' "
"He said a box truck got stuck on a guardrail and nearly went over into a waterway."
" 'We were pretty nervous,' he said."
"Indiana State Police Sgt. Ann Wojas said 20 to 30 people were injured, including one with life-threatening injuries and another who was flown by medical helicopter to a hospital."