I-94 pileup rescuers: "It will live with us forever" - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

I-94 pileup rescuers: "It will live with us forever"

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MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. (WKOW) -- Crews were still working Friday morning to clear the eastbound lanes of I-94 in Michigan City, Indiana after a massive pileup that killed three people.

The busy highway has been closed since around 2:30 Thursday afternoon.  According to authorities, the chain-reaction crash involved nearly 50 vehicles, including 18 semitrailers and two box trucks.

"It was such a devastating scene you don't know where to start," Mick Pawlik with the Coolspring Volunteer Fire Department said at a press briefing Friday morning.  "It will live with us forever."  

Indiana State Police say two people were critically injured and at this point three confirmed dead.  There were 20 others with less serious injuries.

One of those most seriously hurt was flown to a hospital after being trapped in the wreckage for more than three hours. 

"They look at us like we're Moses parting water," Pawlik said.  "I try to get their minds off it."

The LaPorte County Coroner identified three victims Friday morning, 65-year-old Jerry Dalrymple of Chicago, 67-year-old Thomas Wolma and his wife, 65-year-old Marilyn Wolma. The Chicago man's dog also died in the crash.

Indiana State Police say snow and whiteout conditions contributed to the crash.  Agencies from within a 30 mile radius responded to help with the crash.  A warming bus offered shelter for victims and crews in the bitter cold.

I-94 is the main highway heading east from Chicago to Michigan and Indiana, and the main thoroughfare between the nation's third-largest city and Detroit. Traffic was backed up for hours in frigid snowy conditions, though state police said one westbound lane was open late Thursday.

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