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Posted on Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 4:28 p.m.

Crash of 3 semis, pickup truck closes I-94 for hours

By Cindy Heflin


One semi jackknifed and another one hit it on snow-covered Interstate 94 at Pierce Road Monday morning

Photo courtesy of Chelsea Area Fire Authority

A crash involving three semi trucks and a pickup truck kept westbound Interstate 94 closed for about 12 hours and created a massive traffic backup in the Chelsea area Monday, police and fire officials said Tuesday.

A pickup truck driver headed west on I-94 at Pierce Road west of Chelsea lost control of the vehicle Monday morning on the snow-covered and slick road, said State Police Trooper Duane Zook. Three semi trucks were traveling behind the pickup and their drivers applied the brakes to keep from hitting the truck.


One semi overturned Monday morning on Interstate 94 at Pierce Road. Two others collided.

Courtesy of Chelsea Area Fire Department

That sent the semis sliding, Zook said. One truck jackknifed, another one hit that truck and the third one rolled over, he said. The pickup landed on its roof on the ramp from Pierce Road to westbound 94.

“It was just a mess,” Zook said. Fortunately, there were no injuries.

The overturned semi was loaded with flour, said Chelsea Area Fire Authority Chief Jim Payeur. Some of the floor had to be off-loaded in order to right the truck.

Payeur said the crash occurred about 10 or 11 a.m. Monday, and the freeway was not completely reopened until 10:30 or 11 that night.

Initially, motorists had to be routed off I-94 and onto Old U.S. 12 to the Grass Lake area where they could re-enter the freeway, Payeur said. After the pickup truck was removed from the ramp, drivers could get off the highway at the Pierce Road exit, go across the road and get back onto the freeway at the Pierce Road entrance ramp.

Payeur said the crash also caused a major backup on Old U.S. 12 as drivers sought to avoid the problem on I-94.

Though the multiple-semi crash was the one that kept the freeway closed for the longest time, it was far from the only crash in the area, Zook and Payeur said. “We had so many people that were spinning around out there,” Payeur said.

Zook said he dealt with several crashes near Notten Road, west of Pierce Road Monday morning. The eastbound lanes of the freeway were closed for a while to deal with those crashes.

There were also other crashes in the westbound lanes as drivers came upon the backed-up traffic and couldn’t stop in time, Zook said.

Zook said he thought snowfall Monday caught people by surprise. The roads were slick, he said, but the main problem was people were driving too fast for conditions.

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Cindy Heflin is associate news director for Contact her at or 734-623-2572 or follow her on Twitter.



Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 9:52 p.m.

TOTAL lack of road salt and TOTAL lack of road maintenance. No excuses. Fire all of the Washtenaw County and AA city winter road workers and hire professionals.

Superior Twp voter

Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 6:44 p.m.

This article's headline should read: "Three professional drivers spare life of pickup operator"


Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 2:09 p.m.

Who pays to fix the guardrail?


Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 12:07 p.m.

Timely reporting!


Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 2:38 a.m.

Slow the *f* down people! You cant drive 80mph on ice!


Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 12:07 a.m.

Looks like the new cable system worked. It sure is ugly, but if it does the job...


Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 11:26 p.m.

. I dont care how many years youve been driving in michigan weather, pierce road is a known horrible spot due to the slope and train bridge. SLOW DOWN, LEAVE EARLIER DONT, MESS WITH YOUR CELL PHONE In inclement weather. Sorry if being cauteous is inconvient but seems smarter than expecting the state to overhaul the area to make it safer for you to drive like an idiot. Use more caution behind your wheel. If the weather is bad maybe you cant do the posted spped limit. I watch that area all the time and mostly driver failure is cause of the accident. There is a sign on each bridge saying " bridge may be icy"!


Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 11:07 p.m.

3 semis and i pickup12 hrs.Could have been cleared in about 4 hrs with a team of horses. But then there are BIG bucks involved for the tow company.


Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 12:10 p.m.

Shoulda called Jenny's Market!


Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 3:21 a.m.

pat I saw NO mention of any injuries. So the investigation should not have taken too much time.


Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 1:51 a.m.

@jcj...Please enlighten us with your knowledge of heavy duty towing. Tell us how you and your team of horses would have off loaded a semi full of flour (by hand no less, since tow trucks don't carry around fork lifts) and then righted the trailer, and removed all three. You do realize that they actually have to be towed somewhere, not simply shoved off the side of the road, don't you? And all of this had to be done AFTER the police conducted their investigation. And it was also in 10° weather, with subzero windchills & gusty wind. Maybe next time they can give you, and your team of horses a call, so as to not inconvenience any more motorists.


Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 10:54 p.m.

Can they PLEASE do something to 94 at this location. My friend was killed in a one car accident at this same exact location. He hit black ice coming over the bridge & flipped multiple times onto the Pierce Rd on ramp. When the roads get icy/snowy this location is the worst!! Please figure something out because no additional lives need to be lost (thank goodness none were lost in this accident). I wish I could have my friend back, RIP D


Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 11:43 p.m.

"Getyourstorystraight"Not trying to be rude, but if your buddy passed in the accident march 2011. The accident investigation determined speed and lack of seat belts. But if not your buddy i do apologize. "

the leprachaun

Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 10:44 p.m.

Maybe you should do a story on the Saline Area School bus that was involved in a head on crash. Thanks to Scott Graden's decision to hold school now the taxpayers have to foot the bill. Also kids should not have been waiting 45 minutes of a bus in 20 below zero windchill!


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 9:54 p.m.

Why the negative rating on this comment? It is inexcusable to have children waiting at bus stops with 20 below wind chills. It's the right of the poster to express this opinion. Anyone who votes down a comment like this is not rational.

Danielle Arndt

Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 11:25 p.m.

Do you have any additional information about this? If so, could you please email me at Thank you.

Homeland Conspiracy

Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 10:04 p.m.

What no pictures... I was headed east & was lucky enough to get off Old US 12

Homeland Conspiracy

Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 10:58 p.m.

Great Thanx

Cindy Heflin

Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 10:20 p.m.

I've now added a couple of photos.