Police ID passenger killed in I-94 pileup

The crashes on I-94 involved dozens of vehicles and semi-trucks. (Courtesy: Michigan State Police)

HARTFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD)— Michigan State Police are planning a thorough investigation into a series of crashes on Interstate 94 that turned deadly.

Authorities said 78-year-old Carol Griesemer of Northville was killed in the first crash, which happened around 2 p.m. Sunday in the eastbound lanes at mile marker 45.5 near Hartford.

Police and a wrecker near the scene of three pileups on I-94 between Watervliet and Hartford. (Jan. 17, 2016)
Police and a wrecker near the scene of three pileups on I-94 between Watervliet and Hartford. (Jan. 17, 2016)

Troopers said a total of 42 vehicles, including five semi-trucks were involved in the pileup, which happened during heavy lake effect snow. Three people were critically injured in the crash and 12 others were taken to nearby hospitals with non-life threatening injuries, including a deputy from the Van Buren County Sheriff’s office. That deputy was treating a victim at the scene when he or she was hit.

Troopers said a Hartford police patrol car was also totaled in the eastbound crash; the officer was not injured.

About 10 minutes after the eastbound crash, five other crashes happened in the westbound lanes of I-94, east of Hartford. Four semi-trucks and four vehicles were involved in those crashes, troopers said.

Vehicles are brought to a park-and-ride in Hartford after three pileups on I-94 between Watervliet and Hartford. (Jan. 17, 2016)
Vehicles are brought to a park-and-ride in Hartford after three pileups on I-94 between Watervliet and Hartford. (Jan. 17, 2016)

The Van Buren County Emergency Operations Center was activated to respond to the series of crashes. School buses picked up uninjured drivers and passengers to Hartford Federated Church where they were helped by the American Red Cross. People with drivable vehicles were later dropped off at the highway, which reopened to traffic at 8 p.m. Sunday.

Michigan State Police plan to forward their investigation onto the Van Buren County prosecutor for review.

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