Fiery multi-vehicle crash shuts down I-94 in Calhoun County

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CALHOUN COUNTY, Mich. — A fiery multi-vehicle crash shut down the eastbound lanes of Interstate 94 near Renton Road at Mile Marker 93 at midday Saturday.

At 12:18 p.m. Saturday, the Michigan State Police, Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department and area first responders were dispatched to a multi-vehicle crash and fire in the area of I-94 and Renton Road.

The investigation determined that a semi-truck driven by  63-year old Charles Rothney of Durand had been traveling westbound on I-94 and failed to slow down for  traffic congestion.  Rothney’s truck rear-ended a silver Hyundai Sonata driven by Cletus Kyle, 74, and his wife/passenger, Ruthann, who reside in Ludington.  The impact forced the Hyundai into the median.

The semi-truck continued across the median, through the cable barriers and into the eastbound lanes of I-94 where it crashed into a second vehicle — a green Jaguar driven by Linda Engle, 51, of Bellevue.  The semi then came to a stop as it struck the guard rail along the south edge of eastbound I-94.

Both the semi-truck and the Jaguar erupted into flames.

Rothney was transported to Battle Creek Bronson Hospital where he was evaluated and released.  The occupants of the Hyundai and Jaguar were treated for minor injuries at the scene by Life Care Ambulance paramedics.

Troopers investigating the crash determined that the semi driver was distracted when he admittedly looked away to put down his eyeglasses.

Eastbound traffic in the affected area of I-94 was diverted for an extended time due to the fires, fuel spills and extensive vehicle damage that challenged tow/recovery crews with safely clearing the freeway.

MSP was assisted at the scene by Donald Semora of Battle Creek, who stopped to provide aid and a witness account of the crash, as well as the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department, Battle Creek Police Department, Battle Creek Fire Department, Michigan Department of Transportation and Life Care Ambulance Service.

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