updated 3/8/2005 9:00:09 PM ET 2005-03-09T02:00:09

A snow squall caused a string of highway pileups involving as many as 90 vehicles Tuesday, killing one person and injuring at least 34 others, police said.

Rescue crews needed hours to untangle and clear what Fire Chief Dave Peterson described as “knots” of wreckage.

Two victims were hospitalized in critical condition.

A six-mile section of U.S. 131 just north of Grand Rapids was closed and did not reopen until Tuesday afternoon. The wreckage stretched for a half-mile and included a tractor-trailer that was torn in two and a van that was crushed between two tractor-trailers.

Jan Johnson, who lives nearby, said: “I heard the very first crash — a big boom — then it just continued for a few minutes, right after the other.”

Police said the snowstorm created near-whiteout conditions and made the road surface slippery.

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