GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Lake-effect snow and slippery conditions caused a slew of car crashes across West Michigan Tuesday, including a series of pileups that closed the entirety of I-96 in Ottawa County for a time.
The dangerous road conditions prompted officials to advise residents to stay off the roads unless they must travel. If you do have to head out, budget extra time for your trip, go slowly and at least triple the distance between you and the car in front of you.
Allegan County dispatchers say northbound US-131 between 116th Avenue at Martin and 142nd Avenue to Dorr is closed until further notice. Officials will re-evaluate opening it at midnight.
MDOT is also reporting the following highway closures:
- Eastbound I-94 at Lawrence in Van Buren County.
- Eastbound I-94 at Hartford in Van Buren County.
Follow MDOT on Twitter for the latest closures in Southwest and West Michigan .
At least three multicar crashes and several smaller crashes, including pileups at Marne and Coopersville, caused closures on I-96 in Ottawa County Tuesday afternoon. Both directions were closed throughout the county for a while; all lanes had reopened around 7 p.m.
A there were too many cars involved to provide an immediate count.
At least two people sustained non-life-threatening injuries in the crash near Marne. The deputy didn't have information about injuries in the other crashes.
Ottawa County dispatchers said school buses are being called to the scene to shelter more than 100 people who are involved in the crashjes; among them were people from 13 vehicles at the Marne scene. Those people were taken to Berlin Baptist Church at 14141 State St. in Marne . One man told 24 Hour News 8 he was forced to sit in his car for some two hours after the wreck; he spent the time reading his Bible.
The deputy said there were whiteout conditions, the road was icy and wind was causing drifting across the highway.
Some drivers said that as Michiganders, they are accustomed to the snowy conditions and often ignore authorities' advice to stay off the roads. This time, they said, is different than the others.
20+ VEHICLES, MSP CRUISER IN M-6 PILEUP
Around 10 a.m., at least 24 vehicles, including multiple semi-trucks and a Michigan State Police cruiser, were involved in a pileup on M-6 east of Kalamazoo Avenue in Gaines Township, according to the Dutton Fire Department. At least four fire departments responded.
Several drivers were pinned in their vehicles and had to be freed. At least eight people were hospitalized, the fire department said. Their injuries ranged in severity.
Firefighters said there were whiteout conditions at the time of the crash.
Both directions of M-6 were closed for hours as crews worked to clear the scene. Authorities reopened the highway shortly after 1:30 p.m.
Read more at WOODTV.com