A crash on I-80/I-94 in Indiana near Michigan City on Thursday left both directions of the highway shut down and at least three people dead.
Dozens of vehicles were involved in the crash, including at least a dozen semi-trailer trucks. Some smaller vehicles were crushed.
While three people are confirmed dead, “many more” fatalities could be possible, LaPorte County Coroner John Sullivan told NBC.
“It’s just a mess out there right now,” Sullivan said.
Another 20-plus people suffered injuries.
“At this point, anybody being taken out alive is probably nothing short of a miracle,” said Sullivan added to ABC.
“It’s looking grim. There may be many more fatalities,” Sullivan said. “The clock is working against us.”
Crews are working late into the night to rescue people and get the highway cleared; one lane of the westbound side is open while the rest of the highway is closed, the Indiana DOT said via Twitter around 8:30 p.m. local time.
Dixie Juchcinski, who was stuck in stand-still traffic four miles from the crash, told NBC that it’s really hard to see at the moment.
“When we first came to a stop, it was a complete white out,” Juchcinski said. “It was kind of a surprise to us because we could only see one or two cars in front of us.”
Officials were sending buses to the scene to rescue stranded motorists who are stuck in the extreme cold.
“There are major back-ups in this area and with the conditions and extreme cold we want to make sure we take care of the people who are in this back-up now and not add to it,” State Police spokeswoman Ann Wojas said.
The highway was closed between Exits 34 and 40.
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