- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 13, 2015

GALESBURG, Mich. (AP) - State transportation officials blame speed and driver behavior in a 193-vehicle pileup that killed one man and closed a stretch of Interstate 94 for two days.

State police are investigating Friday morning’s chain reaction crashes along Interstate 94 near Galesburg in eastern Kalamazoo County, 150 miles east of Chicago.

“This boiled down to driver behavior,” Michigan Department of Transportation spokesman Nick Schirripa told the Kalamazoo Gazette (https://bit.ly/1waL8LM ). “People were driving too fast and following too closely on an icy freeway during a white-out.”

A 57-year-old trucker from Quebec was killed and about two dozen people were taken to hospitals. A truck carrying fireworks caught fire, triggering an explosion. That driver wasn’t hurt.

Efforts to reopen the highway stalled Saturday as crews tried to remove acid from a tanker truck. All lanes were reopened early Sunday.

The crashes were reported between mile markers 88 and 92. Friday’s crashes had nothing to do with the design of the highway, Schirripa said.

State police have said the chain-reaction crashes in the westbound lanes likely started with drivers distracted by an earlier pileup on eastbound I-94.

The Transportation Department is reviewing the crashes to determine what lessons can be learned from the responses to the accidents and the cleanup, Schirripa said.

A 300-foot section of the eastbound lanes was charred by fire and will have to be replaced.

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Information from: Kalamazoo Gazette, https://www.mlive.com/kalamazoo


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