Numerous crashes, slide-offs reported on area freeways on Tuesday

Blowing snow caused whiteouts and contributed to numerous crashes Tuesday on area highways.

The Michigan Department of Transportation closed eastbound I-196 at Byron Road, Exit 55, in Zeeland, at about 9:39 a.m. Tuesday due to a crash involving multiple vehicles.

Multiple firefighters, police, and ambulances were at the scene, assisting drivers.

Holland resident Dan Kelly was rear-ended in the crash but said he is OK.

“I was going down I-196 East in between Zeeland and Hudsonville,” he said. “The highway in Holland wasn’t great, but I hadn’t seen anything too crazy happen. Then I saw a bunch of cars in the ditch so I started slowing down too. The car behind me decided not to.”

Kelly remained at the scene of the multiple-vehicle crash until 11:15 a.m., staying warm in his vehicle, which still runs.

“There are quite a few cars in the ditch and some of them are smashed up,” Kelly said. “There’s a lot of tow trucks, there are fire trucks, and the police cars have been tending to cars in worse accidents. There’s probably a couple of cars that aren’t runnable and I think they might have taken somebody in an ambulance.”

Kelly said at least one semi-truck is involved in the pileup, along with a box truck that is turned around in the ditch.

“It’s definitely not pretty,” he said.

The Michigan Department of Transportation also closed westbound I-196 as of 11:08 a.m. at the 62-mile marker at 32nd Avenue in Hudsonville. A black SUV and a semi-truck were involved in an injury crash. The extent of the injuries was unclear.

Ottawa County officials reported westbound I-196 was reopened at 11:30 a.m. and eastbound I-196 was expected to remain closed until at least 12:15 p.m.

Emergency crews were also busy on I-96 and U.S. 31.

As of 12:30 p.m., a fully-loaded gas tanker was reported jackknifed on eastbound I-96 near the 24-mile marker.

A crash was also reported early Tuesday afternoon in Muskegon County on U.S. 31 at Sherman Avenue.