Case closed: I-94 pileups investigation ends with 63 drivers cited

Posted at 6:56 PM, Mar 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-19 18:59:20-04

KALAMAZOO CO., Mich. -- The investigation into the deadly I-94 pileups has concluded, according to the Michigan State Police.

Two pileups shut down both sides of the highway on January 9th.  After more than two months of investigating, the state department released their findings today.

Of the 193 drivers involved in the pile-up near Climax, state police will issue citations to 63 of them. One truck driver from Canada died in the crash and 18 people were injured.

As if the pileup wasn’t sensational enough due to the shear numbers of vehicles involved, one truck carrying fireworks and another truck carrying liquid formic acid caught fire next to one another, leading to an evacuation order.

In finishing its investigation, MSP determined that while the weather contributed to the crash, the bottom line was that most of the drivers involved were driving too fast for conditions.

“It was determined that citations would be issued to all drivers found at-fault for violation of basic speed law,” said a statement issued by the MSP Paw Paw post.

The basic speed law in Michigan states that “a person shall not operate a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than that which will permit a stop within the assured, clear distance ahead.” (MCL 257.627)

Five of the drivers are being cited for other violations, such as failing to have insurance, driving without a license, and having an improper plate.

Investigators used both photos and videos to determine causes of the crash, which technically was two crashes, one in the eastbound lanes involved 60 vehicles and one in the westbound lanes involved 133 vehicles:

About 9:20 a.m. the crashes began that morning in the eastbound lanes during heavy snow. It started when a semi rear-ended a van, which collided with a car. The westbound crashes began about five minutes later when westbound drivers became distracted by the eastbound pileup.

“This crash is a vivid illustration of the dangers of traveling too fast on icy and snowy roads,” said MSP Paw Paw Post Commander F/Lt. Dale Hinz in the statement.