On Saturday, March 18, a massive pileup involving 150 vehicles occurred on Interstate 96 in Ionia County, central Michigan. The accident happened in the eastbound lanes near Portland, where severe whiteout conditions reduced visibility. The authorities closed both the eastbound and westbound lanes of the highway at around 5 p.m. to clear the wreckage and assist those injured in the crash.
According to the Michigan State Police officials, there were no serious injuries, but 16 people were taken to a hospital. They later reported that out of the 150 vehicles involved, 84 were damaged, and 66 were not damaged after slideoffs.
The eastbound lanes of Interstate 96 were reopened about five hours after the accident occurred, around 10 p.m. on Saturday. The police posted photos of the backed-up traffic on the frigid roads after the crash.
The incident serves as a reminder of the importance of taking precautions while driving in severe weather conditions, such as snowstorms or whiteouts, which can significantly reduce visibility and cause accidents.
Michigan has a history of whiteout accidents, and the state police urge drivers to take extra caution in these conditions. In January 2019, a pileup involving 40 vehicles occurred on the same highway near Fowlerville, leaving three people dead and eleven others injured.
In 2016, a similar accident on I-96 involved 193 vehicles and injured 22 people. That incident led the Michigan Department of Transportation to install new technology, such as cameras and weather sensors, along the highway to help prevent future accidents.