Drivers faced near-whiteout before pileup

MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. (AP) — A state police official says drivers went quickly from a clear roadway to near-whiteout conditions at the scene of a massive pileup yesterday on Interstate 94 in northwestern Indiana.

State police Lt. Jerry Williams says the area had a sudden burst of snow that was difficult to predict before the pileup of more than 40 vehicles began. A state highway department spokesman say road crews had gone over that stretch of I-94 salting and plowing within 20 minutes of the pileup's start.

Three people were killed in the wreck, and more than 20 others were injured.

The injured include one man who was flown to a Chicago-area hospital after he was trapped in the wreckage for more than three hours. A second person was also critically hurt. Police say the others suffered less serious injuries.

Eastbound lanes of I-94 remained closed this morning as crews continued working to clear the scene. Cranes and wreckers were brought in to help remove the wreckage.

%@AP Links

164-a-09-(Mick Pawlik, chief, Coolspring Township, Ind. Volunteer Fire Department, at news conference)-"get him out"-Coolspring Township Volunteer Fire Chief Mick Pawlik says it took hours to free one man from the wreckage. (24 Jan 2014)

<<CUT *164 (01/24/14)££ 00:09 "get him out"

166-a-10-(Mick Pawlik, chief, Coolspring Township, Ind. Volunteer Fire Department, at news conference)-"with us forever"-Coolspring Township Volunteer Fire Chief Mick Pawlik says it was a horrific scene. (24 Jan 2014)

<<CUT *166 (01/24/14)££ 00:10 "with us forever"

GRAPHICSBANK: INTERSTATE 94 sign, graphic element on gray (23 Jan 2014)

APPHOTO NY122: UPDATES NUMBER OF VEHICLES INVOLVED - In this photo provided by the Indiana State Police, emergency crews work at the scene of a massive pileup involving more than 40 vehicles, many of them semitrailers, along Interstate 94 Thursday afternoon, Jan. 23, 2014 near Michigan City, Ind. At least three were killed and more than 20 people were injured. (AP Photo/Indiana State Police) (23 Jan 2014)

<<APPHOTO NY122 (01/23/14)££

©2014 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.