Witnesses believe weather key in deadly I-75 pileup - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Witnesses believe weather key in deadly I-75 pileup

Posted: Updated:
DETROIT (WJBK) -

The crash scene was huge stretching a mile and a half from Springwells all the way to the Rouge River Bridge along southbound I-75.  It took a little more than six hours to remove all the wreckage.

Drivers say it all happened fast and there was little time to react, and even people that did have time to hit the brakes did not escape damage and injuries.

A banged up, white Honda Civic was the Ropers' refuge as cars, trucks, SUVs and semis went out of control all around them.  The Port Sanilac family braced themselves as they were hit by several different vehicles.

"What's the first thing you saw that told you something was wrong?" I asked Paul Roper.

"A car hit me in the rear.  I was braking.  I was going slow, and I didn't hit the car in front of me.  I braked in plenty of time, but obviously the cars behind me couldn't stop," he said.

Paul kept his cool behind-the-wheel with his wife and a third passenger in the car.  All were wearing seatbelts and said airbags also protected them.

"He kept control and we were all fine," said Keitha Roper.

But many of the other drivers on the busy freeway were not so lucky.  From our vantage point along I-75 near Springwells, we could see injured people being taken away by EMS and parents and children being ushered out of damaged vehicles to keep warm while firefighters and state troopers searched for victims.

"We basically had to go to every vehicle and talk to the people involved... to make sure that they weren't injured or make sure that if they were injured that they had access to medical care," said Michigan State Police Lieutenant Michael Shaw.

Once all the victims were transported, crews started removing the damaged vehicles.

Witnesses, including the Ropers, believe the weather played a key role in the deadly chain reaction.

"It came on suddenly.  In other words, there was a cloud burst that just came down on us very suddenly," Paul said.  "We're damn lucky that we didn't get hurt."

The family told me they were headed to Atlanta to meet a new great grandchild.  They said they plan to rent a car and continue on their trip.

If you have a car that was involved in the wreck and you need to locate it, check with Michigan State Police.

  • Robin SchwartzRobin SchwartzMore>>

  • Vandals damage historic Detroit cemetery

    Vandals damage historic Detroit cemetery

    Friday, July 25 2014 10:38 PM EDT2014-07-26 02:38:55 GMT
    Police are looking for suspects after vandals disturb the peace at a historic Detroit cemetery. Someone broke into a mausoleum and made a mess with spray paint and ashes.
    Police are looking for suspects after vandals disturb the peace at a historic Detroit cemetery. Someone broke into a mausoleum and made a mess with spray paint and ashes.
  • 33 suspects arrested with ties to Latin Counts street gang

    33 suspects arrested with ties to Latin Counts street gang

    Friday, July 25 2014 8:10 PM EDT2014-07-26 00:10:22 GMT
    Right now, nearly three dozen violent criminals are off the streets. The U.S. Attorney says they have ties to the Latin Counts gang in southwest Detroit. Their arrests are part of a joint effort called Detroit One.
    Right now, nearly three dozen violent criminals are off the streets. The U.S. Attorney says they have ties to the Latin Counts gang in southwest Detroit. Their arrests are part of a joint effort called Detroit One.
  • Handmade furniture from Detroit reclaimed lumber

    Handmade furniture from Detroit reclaimed lumber

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 4:18 PM EDT2014-07-23 20:18:32 GMT
    A new brand of furniture is made with wood from deconstructed Detroit homes. The tables are now being sold at Gardner White Furniture stores.
    A new brand of furniture is made with wood from deconstructed Detroit homes. The tables are now being sold at Gardner White Furniture stores.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Jury acquits man in Eastern Michigan football player death

    Jury acquits man in Eastern Michigan football player death

    Monday, July 28 2014 8:32 PM EDT2014-07-29 00:32:20 GMT
    A jury has acquitted a man in the robbery-slaying of Eastern Michigan University football player Demarius Reed.
    A jury has acquitted a man in the robbery-slaying of Eastern Michigan University football player Demarius Reed.
  • Dearborn man charged with torture, murder of sister

    Dearborn man charged with torture, murder of sister

    Monday, July 28 2014 8:10 PM EDT2014-07-29 00:10:00 GMT
    A Dearborn woman is dead and her own brother is behind bars charged with her murder.What happened in the 7500 block of Bingham street Saturday, still has neighbors wondering, 'why.'"I wept, I cried, it's horrible," said neighbor Virginia Leonard.A brother allegedly strangled his own sister, stabbed her several times, and eventually killing her"I'm sure it's a very horrible thing for that family," Leonard said. "Not only did the parents lose a daughter, they lost basically a son too, and it's ...
    A Dearborn woman is dead and her own brother is behind bars charged with her murder.What happened in the 7500 block of Bingham street Saturday, still has neighbors wondering, 'why.'"I wept, I cried, it's horrible," said neighbor Virginia Leonard.A brother allegedly strangled his own sister, stabbed her several times, and eventually killing her"I'm sure it's a very horrible thing for that family," Leonard said. "Not only did the parents lose a daughter, they lost basically a son too, and it's ...
  • Charges to be determined after teen dies in car crash

    Charges to be determined after teen dies in car crash

    Monday, July 28 2014 7:59 PM EDT2014-07-28 23:59:07 GMT
    Seven teenagers were on their way back from a bonfire late Friday night. A 16-year-old girl was behind the wheel of the Ford Expedition with her mom also in the car.
    Seven teenagers were on their way back from a bonfire late Friday night. A 16-year-old girl was behind the wheel of the Ford Expedition with her mom also in the car.
Powered by WorldNow

WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
5151 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016
Main Number: (202) 244-5151
Newsroom: (202) 895-3000
fox5tips@wttg.com

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices