WATCH: The 2015 Explosive 193 Vehicle Pile-up on I-94 Between Battle Creek & Kalamazoo
I-94 is notorious for multiple vehicle crashes in the winter when travel becomes treacherous. But in 2015, the most famous pile-up in recent history happened on January 9th on a stretch of the highway near Galesburg when 193 vehicles ended up smashed during a chain reaction crash during hazardous driving conditions.
Included in the crash were 76 semis-trucks and 117 cars. The story made national news in its aftermath, due to the incredible video that was captured by local media, emergency crews and those involved in it.
Miraculously, only one fatality was recorded as a result, but dozens of injuries left people in the hospital. One aspect of the pile-up that made it memorable was explosives that started detonating in a semi-truck involved that was carrying fireworks, creating an even more surreal scene. When the explosives started, firefighters working the scene were forced to take shelter behind their truck.
Another truck carrying 44,000 pounds of acid used as a preservative and as an antibacterial agent in livestock feed also caused a scare and a hazardous materials team was called in to try to prevent further explosions. A shelter in place was ordered for residents who lived within two miles from the scene.
After some investigations, it was determined that speed and a lack of separation between vehicles during the wintry conditions was the main factor in the crash.
"This boiled down to driver behavior. People were driving too fast and following too closely on an icy freeway during a white-out." M-DOT's Nick Schirripa, speaking to the Kalamazoo Gazette in 2015
Both EB and WB I-94 in that area was shutdown for over 18 hours as a result of the pile-up.
Here is a report from WWMT during the aftermath of the crash: