Yesterday evening on highway I-94 in Michigan City, a 46-car pileup began after an unpredictable wave of lake-effect snow came onto the road, startling drivers and causing them to swerve into each other. The gust of precipitation, which is brother to the terrifying menace "thundersnow" and has been known to white out areas of the Midwest, fell onto the highway that connects Michigan to Montana. Three people have been pronounced dead.
The scene of the accident, which is still being cleaned up despite I-94's reopening this morning, was particularly horrorshow. Michigan County Coroner John Sullivan explained yesterday afternoon that firemen "are still making sure that there aren't any cars under the semis."
After the crash, it was tabulated that 46 vehicles in total were prey to the unpredictable weather conditions, 18 of which were 80,000-pound 18-wheelers. As firemen and rescue workers cleared the scene yesterday evening, the effort was punctuated by the desperate screams of victims within their cars.
Coolspring Township Fire Chief Mick Pawlik enlisted an Old Testament metaphor to describe what he witnessed: "There were people in cars that you couldn't even see. But when people are stuck in their cars, they look at you like we're Moses. 'Part the water. Save us.'" Given the frigid—and dropping—temperatures that day, reaching no higher than 21° F, the priority was in finding victims and keeping them warm. Chicago's Jerry Dalrymple and his dog Sparky, as well as Michigan couple Thomas and Marilyn Wolma of Grand Rapids, were pronounced dead at the scene.