Police say the accident involved at least 38 vehicles, according to The Chicago Tribune. The eastbound lanes on the highway were almost completely blocked by the crash, with some vehicles even spilling off of the roadway and into a ditch.
Riding along with Michigan State Police on a 51 car pileup on I-94 EB. At least one person was taken away from scene by ambulance. Happening near Galesburg exit. pic.twitter.com/YRerZPWNBZ— Franque Thompson (@FranqueThompson) February 9, 2018
There were reportedly between six and seven inches of snow on the ground when cars, SUVs, and even 16 tractor trailer trucks began sliding into each other on I-94. The crash continued to gather more victims who couldn't see the pileup ahead of them in time to stop in those slippery conditions. Only minor injuries resulted from the crash.
The traffic nightmare wasn't the only major impact of the winter storm, which is expected to continue ravaging the Midwest all weekend. One Michigan State Police Trooper was hospitalized as a result of a separate accident nearby on I-94, according to the Tribune. A pick-up truck reportedly lost control and slid into his stopped police cruiser. There's no word yet on his condition.
Another person lost their life on U.S. 23 near Flint, Michigan, according to police sources that spoke to the Tribune. A semi-truck slid into a car which was stopped in traffic, killing its occupant.
Another man in his 60s passed away while shoveling snow on Friday morning, according to the outlet. He lived in Naperville, Illinois, just west of Chicago. He was taken to Edward Hospital, where he passed away shortly.
Chicago received 10 of the 14 inches of snow that was forecasted for the city on Friday. At least three more bursts of serious snowfall are expected over the weekend, and local government officials are begging people to travel sparingly and be cautious.
Classes in many schools in the Midwest were cancelled or delayed on Friday. Likewise, over 1,000 flights were cancelled at O'Hare International Airport. More delays and cancellations are expected over the weekend, and possibly even into next week, as crews work to remove the massive banks of accumulated snow from roads, runways and sidewalks.
Midwesterners, as always, are taking the precipitation in stride. Children relished the reprieve from school, while some locals noticed it was the first "real" snowfall of the year in Chicago.