Massive Crash in Northwest Indiana

[Content Note: Injury; death. Please note there are images of the crash at the link.]

Yesterday afternoon, on a stretch of interstate not far from where I live, there was a massive 46-vehicle pile-up because of lake effect snow. Three people and a dog were killed, and more than 20 people were injured, some seriously.

On the news last night, a woman who was in a car just behind the huge crash said that there were white-out conditions at the time of the accident, and the roads were treacherous. Low visibility plus messy roads. And now there are questions about why the road was not closed, as other parts of I-94 have been during serious weather conditions in the past weeks. At the moment, the only investigation which has been launched is the police investigation into the cause of the crash.
Indiana State Police said the investigation into the cause of the 46-vehicle pileup on Interstate 94 in Michigan City Thursday afternoon that killed three could take months.

"This investigation is going to take several weeks if not months to complete," Sgt. Ann Wojas of the Indiana State Police said at a press conference in Michigan City Friday morning carried live on broadcast news stations.

...The multiple-vehicle crash happened about 3 p.m. between the 35.5 mile marker and the 36.5 mile marker. Troopers said white-out conditions and ice on I-94 caused the crash.

"Just think, all of this hell was caused by one tiny little band of lake-effect snow that only moved for about 2 miles," Sullivan said Friday morning.
Well, yes. That. And possibly the failure to close and/or properly clear the road. I hope that, at minimum, the policies on road closures will be reassessed.

Iain and I frequently travel this very stretch of road, as well as the stretch of road that was closed down just weeks ago: "Earlier this month a brutal storm system caused officials to shut down Interstate 80/94 and Interstate 65 in Northwest Indiana."

On the one hand, I understand the urgent need to keep these major throughways open, because so many people depend on them. On the other hand, so many people depend on them that it is imperative to make sure the roads are safe for travel, especially travel for a lot of vehicles in close proximity. The horrendous images of the crash tell the story of what traveling on these roads is like: Small passenger vehicles mixed in with large passenger vehicles mixed in with lots of semis. The sheer number of semis traveling on these roads into and out of Chicago can make driving them a dangerous proposition even in the best weather.

Most of the cargo train rails in the area have been converted into nature paths. And instead of trains, we've got roads full of semis.

Anyway. This wicked winter continues to do its worst. I watched news coverage of the wreckage and rescue last night with fear and profound sadness, and I don't know what to say besides offering my sincerest condolences to the survivors of the people who died, and I hope the people injured have access to the resources they need to heal.

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