UPDATE: I-94 now re-open after horrific crash - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

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UPDATE: I-94 now re-open after horrific crash

Jerry Dalrymple (Courtesy FOX32 WFLD) Jerry Dalrymple (Courtesy FOX32 WFLD)
Marilyn and Thomas Wolma (Courtesy FOX17 WXMI) Marilyn and Thomas Wolma (Courtesy FOX17 WXMI)
Photo Courtesy WLS Photo Courtesy WLS
Photo Courtesy Indiana State Police Photo Courtesy Indiana State Police

After 14 hours of clean-up the eastbound lanes of I-94 are now re-open.

Indiana State Police now have identified and confirmed three people dead and more than 20 hurt following a massive pile-up Thursday evening on I-94 near Michigan City in LaPorte County.

The accident happened in the eastbound lanes around mile marker 37.  Investigating officers say snow and whiteout condition were contributing factors to the crash. Matt Deitchley with INDOT says during the time of the accident, the area was experiencing "extreme whiteout conditions."

According to the Associated Press, 65-year-old Jerry Dalrymple of Chicago, 67-year-old Thomas Wolma and 65-year-old Marilyn Wolma of Grand Rapids, Mich. are the three deceased at this time. Thomas and Marilyn Wolma were a couple returning home from taking care of a relative in Wisconsin, while Dalrymple was killed along with his pet golden retriever in the accident.

Sgt. Ann Wojas with the Indiana State Police says two of the 20 people injured have life-threatening injuries.  One was taken to an area hospital and the other was airlifted from the scene.  Sgt. Wojas believes they have gotten everyone out of the wreckage, but they cannot be certain until all the vehicles are pulled out. More details will be released at the 9:00 a.m news conference Friday at city hall in Michigan City.

Michigan City provided two city buses, which are being used to transport injured motorist and passengers to area hospitals and for a warming station.  Buses took people involved in the crash, but not injured, to the Michigan City City Hall.  Food was waiting for them provided by local restaurants and community members.

Troopers asked people to avoid I-94 throughout Thursday. Eastbound traffic was being diverted at the Chesterton exit. Crews are working to get traffic that was already on the highway off the road. Indiana State Police say they expect eastbound I-94 to remain closed until at least Friday morning. 

Police say the accident investigation will likely take several weeks to complete.

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