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Fatal 123-Vehicle Michigan Pileup Prompts Evacuation

More than 150 vehicles, including a semi-truck carrying fireworks that erupted into flames, were involved in the Battle Creek crash.

At least one person was killed and 22 were injured Friday in a pileup affecting both the westbound and eastbound lanes of a Michigan interstate, involving 123 vehicles — including a semi-truck carrying fireworks that erupted into flames, according to police. Interstate 94 was completely closed down due to the chain-reaction crash in Battle Creek that started around 10 a.m., Michigan State Police Lt. Rick Pazder told NBC News. Vehicular traffic in a 3-mile radius of the crash was evacuated because the semi-truck carrying fireworks had caught fire and a nearby truck carrying Formic acid ignited, Pazder said. Anyone who lived in a 3-mile radius was also asked by HAZMAT officials to evacuate their homes, according to a statement from the Michigan State Police, but the concern was alleviated when the fire went out hours after the accident, Pazder said. Formic acid can cause throat burns, coughing and nausea if inhaled according to the Centers for Disease Control.

A semi-truck driver was killed in the crash, but is not yet being identified, Pazder said. At least ten more people were injured and brought to area hospitals, while more people who were less seriously injured were brought to the Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Battle Creek, Pazder said. People involved in the crash who were not injured were being bused to Galesburg-Augusta Primary School.

Pazder said visibility was poor due to blowing snow at the time of the crash, but the cause of the crash was still being investigated. He said he anticipated that the I-94 would not reopen until midnight.


— Elisha Fieldstadt