150 vehicles involved in Saturday pileup near Portland, 16 people hospitalized
LANSING — Michigan State Police said 150 vehicles were involved in the pileup on Interstate 96 near Portland Saturday, although only 16 people were transported to area hospitals and none with serious injuries.
A serious of crashes in the eastbound lanes about 5 p.m. resulted in the freeway being closed in both directions for about five hours Saturday evening. The Michigan State Police Sixth District headquarters in Grand Rapids said in a message posted to Twitter Sunday that 84 vehicles were damaged and 66 others slid off the road but were undamaged. Police had initially estimated 50-100 vehicles were involved.
The freeway reopened about 10 p.m.
There were whiteout conditions prior to the pileup but the sun was out and skies had cleared by the time Michigan State Police released an image showing the wreckage.
State police said there were no serious injuries.
A warming and family reunification center was set up at the Portland Church of the Nazarene, according to an MSP Sixth District Twitter post. Buses were used to transport those involved in crashes.
Video obtained by the State Journal showed many vehicles collided with the cable barrier separating the eastbound and westbound lanes.
Conditions quickly worsened and visibility grew poor just prior to the pileup. Some drivers bumped into guard rails, while others couldn't stop and slammed into cars ahead of them.
One man was seen leaving his car to clear scattered pieces of wreckage, allowing drivers to move forward and out of the pileup.
The Portland Area Fire Authority said on its Facebook page that the pileup was between mile markers 72 and 77.
State Police thanked the Ionia and Clinton county sheriff's departments, Portland police and fire, Ionia County Victim’s Advocates, Ionia County Emergency Management, Portland Public Schools, Grand Rapids and Lansing Post troopers, Michigan DNR officers, the Sixth District Accident Reconstruction team, Reed and Hoppes, I-96 Towing, Green's R&R, Clinton Transit, Ionia County Central Dispatch and the Church of the Nazarene, which “graciously opened their doors to those involved in the crash and provided refreshments and a warm location for family reunification.”
This article originally appeared on Lansing State Journal: 150 vehicles involved in pileup near Portland, 16 people hospitalized