Witnesses believe weather key in deadly I-75 pileup - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

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>>

  • Rescue mission offers second chance to those who need it most

    Rescue mission offers second chance to those who need it most

    Friday, August 1 2014 6:39 PM EDT2014-08-01 22:39:11 GMT
    Mark Jones whips up a quick house salad with bacon, and he does it with pride.Not long ago -- he was homeless and living in a shelter. Now, thanks to Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries -- he has big news to share."I just got hired in on the 21st," Jones said.A full time job cooking in the kitchen at Cornerstone Bistro in Highland Park. He completed a 12-week training program which includes passing the state certification exam. And the 48-year-old has plenty of specialties."I cook lasagne, gumb...
    Mark Jones whips up a quick house salad with bacon, and he does it with pride.Not long ago -- he was homeless and living in a shelter. Now, thanks to Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries -- he has big news to share."I just got hired in on the 21st," Jones said.A full time job cooking in the kitchen at Cornerstone Bistro in Highland Park. He completed a 12-week training program which includes passing the state certification exam. And the 48-year-old has plenty of specialties."I cook lasagne, gumb...
  • Detroit Police's 'Green Machine 40' stages crackdown of suspected drug houses

    Detroit Police's 'Green Machine 40' stages crackdown of suspected drug houses

    Thursday, July 31 2014 8:34 PM EDT2014-08-01 00:34:02 GMT
    Heavily armed members of the Detroit Police Special Response Team move in -- swarming this house on Tacoma with the state police helicopter overhead.This residence is believed to be a drug house where people were selling cocaine. No evidence and no arrests were found this time, but Detroit Police Chief James Craig says the message is loud and clear"We'll come back to this location and we'll send the owner a nice note and if we have to come back again we'll take it," said Craig. Elsewhere ther...
    Heavily armed members of the Detroit Police Special Response Team move in -- swarming this house on Tacoma with the state police helicopter overhead.This residence is believed to be a drug house where people were selling cocaine. No evidence and no arrests were found this time, but Detroit Police Chief James Craig says the message is loud and clear"We'll come back to this location and we'll send the owner a nice note and if we have to come back again we'll take it," said Craig. Elsewhere ther...
  • 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.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Rescue mission offers second chance to those who need it most

    Rescue mission offers second chance to those who need it most

    Friday, August 1 2014 6:39 PM EDT2014-08-01 22:39:11 GMT
    Mark Jones whips up a quick house salad with bacon, and he does it with pride.Not long ago -- he was homeless and living in a shelter. Now, thanks to Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries -- he has big news to share."I just got hired in on the 21st," Jones said.A full time job cooking in the kitchen at Cornerstone Bistro in Highland Park. He completed a 12-week training program which includes passing the state certification exam. And the 48-year-old has plenty of specialties."I cook lasagne, gumb...
    Mark Jones whips up a quick house salad with bacon, and he does it with pride.Not long ago -- he was homeless and living in a shelter. Now, thanks to Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries -- he has big news to share."I just got hired in on the 21st," Jones said.A full time job cooking in the kitchen at Cornerstone Bistro in Highland Park. He completed a 12-week training program which includes passing the state certification exam. And the 48-year-old has plenty of specialties."I cook lasagne, gumb...
  • Recycled car program helps those in need

    Recycled car program helps those in need

    Friday, August 1 2014 6:16 PM EDT2014-08-01 22:16:24 GMT
    "Life has been a struggle for me since I was little," said Debra Gregory. "(It) continues to be very hard." For years, abusive relationships and a string of domestic issues kept Gregory from owning her own car and moving forward. But today all that changed -- thanks to charitable organizations like 1-800 charity cars.Gregory was chosen by the charitable organization which works with the National Auto Body Council's Recycled Rides program to donate vehicles to those in need."I can go to the do...
    "Life has been a struggle for me since I was little," said Debra Gregory. "(It) continues to be very hard." For years, abusive relationships and a string of domestic issues kept Gregory from owning her own car and moving forward. But today all that changed -- thanks to charitable organizations like 1-800 charity cars.Gregory was chosen by the charitable organization which works with the National Auto Body Council's Recycled Rides program to donate vehicles to those in need."I can go to the do...
  • Undercover agents at murdered Armada teen's funeral

    Undercover agents at murdered Armada teen's funeral

    Friday, August 1 2014 6:07 PM EDT2014-08-01 22:07:12 GMT
    A community, clad in pink, gathered Friday for the funeral of the murdered Armada teen, April Millsap.
    A community, clad in pink, gathered Friday for the funeral of the murdered Armada teen, April Millsap.
Powered by WorldNow

WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
485 S. Highland St.
Memphis, TN 38111

Main Station: (901) 320-1313
Newsroom: (901) 320-1340

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