A pileup on a slick, snow-covered I-94 in northwestern Indiana east of Chicago on Thursday afternoon resulted in three deaths and up to 20 injuries.
Interstate 94, between Exits 26 and 40 near Michigan City, Ind., was reopened to traffic Friday morning after tow trucks and cranes worked in sub-zero temperatures overnight to remove 46 vehicles, including many tractor-trailers, from the highway, reported The Chicago Tribune
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Authorities said whiteout conditions from a storm that generated heavy lake-effect snow created the conditions for the massive pileup.
"It was such a devastating scene," Cool Springs Volunteer Fire Department chief Mick Pawlik told the Chicago Tribune. "It'll live with us forever."
Jerry Dalrymple, 65, of Chicago, was pronounced dead at the scene while his 7-year-old black Labrador died as well, wrote the Tribune. Authorities said they believed Dalrymple, who worked for Federal Home Loan Bank in Chicago, died from blunt force trauma from the accident.
"He loved walking Sparky along the lake," Laura Kelly, Dalrymple's daughter, told the Chicago Tribune.
Grand Rapids, Mich., couple Marilyn J. Wolma, 65, and Thomas D. Wolma, 67, also died in the pileup. The Wolmas were returning from Wisconsin after caring for an ill relative, LaPorte County Coroner John Sullivan told the Tribune.
"Lucky we didn't have 10 more, you know, from looking at it?" Sullivan told the Tribune. "Thank God we didn’t have any more."
Henry Imboden, 79, of Merrillville, Ind., and Jeffrey Rennell, 48, of Ada, Mich., were critically injured, reported the Chicago Sun-Times. It took emergency crews
three hours to extricate Rennell from his vehicle.
Scott Collins, 17, of Chesterton, Ind., told the Tribune that he saw the crash happen just behind him.
"One of the semis started sliding and I think it jackknifed in the middle of the road," Collins said to the Tribune. "After that happened, multiple semis locked up. We were pretty nervous."
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