911 calls reveal emotions in deadly I-94 pile-up

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GALESBURG, Mich. -- For the first time, we're hearing 911 calls stemming from the deadly pile-up on I-94.

It involved 193 cars, injuring dozens and killing one man.

FOX 17 was able to obtain the 911 calls through the Freedom of Information Act.

“I’m on an accident on I-94. I’m, like, under a semi,” one caller frantically said.

“It’s alright. Are you hurt?” the dispatcher, who answers the phone as Deputy Schmidt, asks.

The call becomes hysterical, and Deputy Schmidt offers a bit of perspective. "Ma'am, I need you to stay calm," he says. “You’re not hurt, and that’s all we care about, okay? Everything else can be replaced in this world except for you guys, okay?”

As more 911 calls from the massive pile-up came in, new details of the magnitude were revealed.

“The truck that hit us is a semi," another caller said. "There’s another car skidding and stopped just before he got to us. There’s a Honda sitting on the fence rail, and there’s getting to be quite a few cars here."

Then reports of injuries come in and what appears to be the first warning of the fatal injuries suffered by a 57-year-old semi truck driver from Quebec.

“I’ve got one guy that’s on the phone that says the semi truck driver that’s inside the vehicle that is in...um...that’s hurt extremely bad,” one caller said.

And fears there may be more lead to hysteria and anger from some wanting immediate help.

“I want you to listen to me very carefully," a very aggressive caller yells. "I’m at the 95 yard line. Interstate 94 eastbound side is completely shut down. We`ve got multiple tractor trailers down here in the ditch wrecked. We`ve got (inaudible) leaking out several tanks. You need to get a HazMat team out here. You need to get some heavy-duty wreckers out here with rotators. There are at least six tractor trailers in the ditch, multi-car pileup, and you need to get some fire trucks out here, and you need to get some EMT's out here now."

In the aftermath, Michigan State Police are asking for your help as they continue to reconstruct the pileup.

Because many of the vehicles were completely burned at the scene, they're asking anyone with photographs or videos to email them MSPDistrict5@michigan.gov.

In addition, any motorists who were involved in the crash who have not yet been interviewed by a trooper need to give call MSP post at (269) 657-6081.

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1 Comment

  • Brendan B

    The guy screaming at the 911 operator is of no help. It’s understood that it was an emergency – the 911 operators knew of the situation and were trying to report ASAP. Just screaming at the 911 operator is of no help. In fact, the 911 operator who stated “everything in this world can be replaced except you guys” deserves an award from staying calm and reaffirming that things were going to be O.K.
    Glad to see this wasn’t worse than what was initially speculated.