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911 calls released from 150-car pileup on I-96 near Portland

The calls paint a picture of panic from those involved and injured in the crashes that closed both the eastbound and westbound lanes for hours.

PORTLAND, Mich. — Ionia County Central Dispatch last week released a series of 911 calls from a massive 150-car pileup that occurred on I-96 near Portland on March 18.

Records show that calls began pouring in to Ionia Central Dispatch around 4:30 that afternoon.

While officials have previously described the response and cleanup efforts involved with the pileup, calls from inside the scene paint a picture of fear and panic from those in the vehicles who were blindsided by sudden whiteout conditions.

Calls came in from those who witnessed the crash, were in it and who were injured as conditions worsened.

In one call, one individual contacted dispatch while sobbing, saying they'd be involved in the accident and that she would need medical assistance.

In another, the caller detailed a chaotic scene amongst those trapped in the pileup.

"Are you injured at all?" the dispatcher asked in the call.

"No, but there are people screaming," the caller responded.

"Do you need an ambulance?" the dispatcher later asked during the call.

"Yeah, I think we all do," the caller said.

The number of vehicles estimated to have been involved in the crashes along a three-mile stretch of both the eastbound and westbound lanes of I-96 steadily grew in the hours and days following the incident.

Originally, it was estimated that around 50 cars were involved, until the number rose hours later to around 90. Days later, authorities instead estimated around 150 cars were ultimately involved.

Multiple injuries were reported as a result of the crashes, but there were no fatalities.

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