BATTLE CREEK, MICH. - Interstate-94 between Battle Creek and Galesburg is expected to be closed or have slow traffic for several hours after a four-vehicle crash and fire Saturday about noon.
Michigan State Police said the crash occurred when a semi driver traveling westbound at 12:02 p.m. struck one car as traffic ahead slowed, and then the truck crossed the median and hit an eastbound car and those two vehicles caught fire.
The crash was at the 92.8 mile marker in Calhoun County between Renton Road and the Galesburg exit.
A fourth vehicle which was eastbound hit the median cables to avoid the crash, troopers said.
Michigan State Police Trooper Tim Lane said it appears the trucker was distracted just as traffic ahead slowed. He slammed into the car ahead and then as he tried to slow the truck he lost control and crossed the median and crashed through cables and traveled into the eastbound lane and collided with the second passenger car.
Troopers said the trucker and the woman driving the car both were able to leave their vehicles as fire erupted.
Battle Creek Fire Department Battalion Chief Adam Magers said smoke from the fire could be seen for several miles. The first engines were slowed by heavy highway traffic and eventually once the eastbound lanes were closed fire engines responded by traveling westbound in those eastbound lanes.
Magers said firefighters used 6,000 gallons of water and 100 gallons of foam to extinguish the fire. Battle Creek was assisted by Galesburg-Augusta and Leroy Township firefighters.
The truck driver and a passenger in the first car had minor injuries, The semi, which was carrying two SUVs and the second car were destroyed by fire. The other two vehicles were heavily damaged.
An environmental crew is coming for about 200 gallons of diesel fuel which leaked into a ditch.
Troopers expect the highway to be closed or at least slowed for several hours.
Deputies from the Calhoun County Sheriff Department and the Battle Creek Police Department also assisted.
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