I-94 pile-up reconstruction; tow lots still full

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PAW PAW, Mich. – With I-94 back open in both directions after Friday’s deadly massive pileups, investigators are reconstructing what went wrong.

FOX 17 cameras caught the explosive fires that shut down I-94 near mile marker 90 for nearly 24-hours. Monday, investigators said they believe one car traveling eastbound lost control and hit the median cables, which started the chain reaction.

At this point, 193 vehicles were involved; however officials said this number may change with the ongoing investigation.

“It will be several weeks before this thing is completely put together,” said First Lieutenant Dale Hinz, with MSP headquarters in Paw Paw who are reconstructing the accident. “The investigation is very complex, there’s a lot of evidence to comb through to reconstruct this.”

Investigators said the massive scene left 22 people injured, and killed a 57-year-old truck driver, a man from Quebec, Canada.

“It was the worst I’ve seen, as far as the chaos, the smoke, and the fireworks,” said Victor Potter, Owner of Bud’s Towing and Automotive in Marshall.

Potter’s lot was still full from the crashes on Monday. Bud’s Towing and Automotive was one of the four towing companies MSP used to haul away the damaged vehicles.

While some people are still looking for their cars, Potter said he waived his storage fee.

He’s charging between $250 – 500 for a service he called pretty difficult.

“If you don’t have keys, they’re locked in park, some are all-wheel drive, so all four wheels would drag,” said Potter.

“You’re dragging something through those posts, luckily there was snow so it made dragging it easier; but the trick is to not do any damage to the car, because some cars had no damage and you don’t want to be the one to make damage.”

Investigators said they are working to return all vehicles to owners soon, but will need more time with the more severely damaged vehicles for investigation.

MSP ask anyone with pictures or videos of the pileups to email them directly at: MSPDistrict5@michigan.gov.

If you are still looking for your vehicle, call MSP in Paw Paw at: (269) 657-6081.

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