Detroit, MI (Freep.com) -- Three people are dead and many others injured after a horrific multiple-vehicle accident scene that stretches for more than a mile on I-75 southbound in Detroit, police said.
Michigan State Police Lt. Michael Shaw said two children and an adult were killed. The children, ages 7 and 9, were from Windsor and were riding in the same vehicle, but it's unclear whether they were related, police said.
Shaw said the adult killed was in a separate vehicle. No other information was released about the adult killed.
State Police Capt. Monica Yesh said another child is in critical condition.
Motorists described total whiteout conditions as they approached Springwells around 9:30 a.m. Drivers said they slammed on their brakes, but slid on slick, snow-covered roads.
"It got real bad, real quick," said Greg Galuszka from Brownstown Township, who was unhurt in the accident. "It turned to ice real quick."
Michigan Department of Transportation spokesman Rob Morosi said sudden snow squalls whipped across the freeway just after 9 a.m., and although road crews had pre-salted the expressway's lanes, snowfall quickly turned to ice on the I-75 bridge over the Rouge River.
The accident started on the bridge, according to MDOT.
At least a dozen fire and emergency vehicles responded to the scene, and at least 10 flatbed trucks went to assist.
According to a first responder on the scene, one victim's car was shattered with the back of the car folded up over the front of the car.
Detroit EMS Chief Jerald James said a dozen people, not including those killed, were transported to area hospitals with injuries, including broken bones, head trauma and lacerations. He said Detroit had four ambulances and a rapid response unit on the scene. About five private ambulance companies sent four or five units each, as well.
He said 30-plus people also were treated for injuries at the scene.
Shaw said some of those transported were badly injured.
Three victims were transported by ambulance to Oakwood Hospital in Dearborn, said Dr. John Fath, the trauma medical director at Oakwood Healthcare.
All are in stable condition and should be released within hours or days, he said. The victims suffered blunt trauma from a motor vehicle collision, Fath said. He could not supply additional details.
The patients arrived about an hour after the hospital was alerted that it would receive as many as 15 patients from the accident. Fath said he was unsure whether the hospital will get additional patients.
Shaw said police were investigating between eight and 10 crashes within the accident scene. He said between 150 and 200 vehicles were either involved in crashes or were blocked by accidents.
"It's extremely unfortunate," Yesh said. "So many families obviously will be devastated by this."
Some of the vehicles at the scene are totaled, others have minor damage, one appeared to be wedged under a fuel truck, and some ran into the embankment.
Northbound I-75 in the same area has been reopened.
According to State Police at about 3:15 p.m., southbound I-75 could be reopened within the hour. At about 3:30 p.m., crews were out cleaning up debris from the roadway. Emergency personnel were focused, as of just before noon today, on rescuing injured motorists.
Tow trucks are on site waiting to remove less damaged vehicles, while others were being pushed from the road by heavy machinery. The Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office also was on the scene about 2:30 p.m. to remove the body of a victim.
State Police set up a mobile command post to begin coordinating how to remove crashed vehicles and handle hazardous materials removal because several crash-related fuel spills were reported.
The Detroit Fire Department was on scene dealing with spilled diesel fuel.
Written By: Gina Damron, Matt Helms, Eric Lawrence and Megha Satyanarayana, Detroit Free Press