'Thankfully… no serious injuries': Snow squall blamed for massive 150-vehicle pile-up on I-96 near Lansing: MSP

A massive multi-vehicle crash has forced the closure of eastbound I-96 in Ionia County after blinding snow caused whiteout conditions on Saturday afternoon.
Photo credit Michigan State Police

IONIA COUNTY (WWJ) - A massive multi-vehicle crash forced the closure of all lanes of I-96 in Ionia County for several hours after blinding snow caused whiteout conditions on Saturday afternoon.

The freeway reopened around 10 p.m. Saturday after a roughly five-hour closure near Portland.

Michigan State Police officials said in an update Sunday afternoon 150 total vehicles were involved in the wreck, 84 of which were damaged. The other 66 were undamaged, only sliding off the freeway, officials said.

Authorities said 16 people were taken to the hospital, though MSP officials said Saturday no serious injuries were reported. Officials didn't provide an update on their conditions on Sunday.

All westbound and eastbound lanes of I-96 were closed for an "indefinite period," state police said after a second crash was reported in the westbound lanes near the 66 mile marker.

Drivers were told to avoid the area as emergency crews work to assess and clear the scene.

"Thankfully it appears that there are no serious injuries," state police added.

Troopers shared that the weather had made driving conditions dangerous and a snow squall had moved across the area prior to the crash.

According to the National Weather Service, a snow squall is an "intense short-lived burst of heavy snowfall that leads to a quick reduction in visibilities and is often accompanied by gusty winds."

In the hours following the incident, authorities set up a warming and family reunification center at the Portland Church of the Nazarene at 9466 Cutler Road for those involved in the crash.

"Buses are being used to transport involved parties," MSP stated in a social media post. "Family members can pick up at that location after giving info to troopers."

The NWS advised that scattered lake effect snow showers would continue across southern Michigan through the evening hours, producing rapid fluctuations in visibility to less than a mile and light accumulations of snow

This is a developing story. Stay tuned to WWJ LIVE for the latest updates.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Michigan State Police