3 dead in 40 car pileup in Michigan

Three people died Thursday in a crash involving more than 40 vehicles on an icy highway in Michigan, according to multiple reports.

Officials with the Livingston County Sheriff Department told WJBK that at least three people were killed in the accident on Interstate 96 in Livingston County. More than an hour after the wreck was first reported, fire officials were still working to free victims from their vehicles.

It was not immediately known whether anyone else was injured. The Fowlerville Fire Department told WJBK that authorities expect the interstate to remain closed in both directions until at least 1 p.m.

The Livingston County Sheriff's Office told the Detroit Free Press that deputies believe that some 40 vehicles believed to be involved in the crash might have slid off the highway.

The newspaper's reporter, Kathleen Gray, was driving on I-96 in white-out snow conditions on the icy road when the accident began. She told the Lansing State Journal that a semi-truck jackknifed across the expressway and several vehicles ended up in ditches or smashed. She was not involved in the crash.

"For me, the most terrifying sounds I've ever heard was the sound of semi-truck tires skidding on the ice behind me and I had nowhere to go because traffic was at a standstill," Gray told the Lansing State Journal in an email. "Fortunately, he was able to stop before plowing into me."

The Michigan Department of Transportation warned motorists around 10 a.m. that a crash had closed all westbound lanes of Interstate 96 in Livingston County. The crash, which initially involved only three vehicles, happened at the Fowlerville Road exit.

Fowlerville is about 30 miles east of Michigan's capitol, Lansing.

Heavy snowfall Thursday morning led to low visibility on Lansing area roads.

According to the National Weather Service's Grand Rapids office, more than 40 accidents were reported in the area before noon.

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