MSP: Snow, speed factors in 32-car pileup on I-94 in Paw Paw

Posted at 7:26 PM, Dec 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-07 19:26:29-05

VAN BUREN COUNTY, Mich. — Thursday morning’s snow and speed were the main factors behind the 32-car pileup on I-94, Michigan State Police said. It happened around 9:15 a.m. in Paw Paw, causing bumper-to-bumper traffic to extend into Kalamazoo County.

“I’ve never seen this large of a crash on the first snowfall of the year,” said F/Lt. Dale Hinz.

It all began when officers were trying to remove a vehicle that slid off into a ditch near Exit 60, he said. Then as vehicles drove by, they looked at the scene and eventually slammed into one another.

“If you break too suddenly and people are following too closely, it ends up causing this chain reaction,” said F/Lt. Hinz. “It’s a combination of that curiosity as well as people driving too fast.”

A few people were injured in the pile-up which involved 16 semi trucks, he said. They suffered minor injuries. Police were able to clear the scene within two hours but they caution all drivers to take it slow on the roads.

“With the lake-effect snowfall that we see here commonly, you can go from a sunny, clear sky stretch to a very heavy snowfall and slippery roadway conditions in a mile or two,” said F/Lt. Hinz. “So we would recommend, especially the drivers that are familiar with this lake effect snowfall, to kind of set the tone out there on I-94 and to set the speed accordingly.”