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Fatal Crash Strands Drivers For Hours On Snowy US-23; 50 Vehicles Involved

UPDATED 10:17 pm: Officials confirm that US-23 southbound has reopened.

MILAN (WWJ) - One person was killed and two others were injured in an accident involved several semi trucks that shut down a section of southbound US-23 near Milan, Michigan.

The crash happened shortly before 1 p.m. near Willow Road in York Township — backing traffic up for miles and stranding motorists in their cars.

Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office spokesman Derrick Jackson said there were at least 50 vehicles involved in the backup.

According to Huron Valley Ambulance — which responded to the scene along with MSP and the Milan and Pittsfield fire departments — one person was rushed to a local hospital where he or she was pronounced dead.

Two additional injured people were taken to University of Michigan Hospital via ambulance; one of them in critical condition. Survival Flight unable to fly due to weather, HVA said.

US 23 accident
(credit: Lance Howard/WWJ)

No victims' names have been released.

One woman, who didn't want to give her name, called the WWJ newsroom saying she'd been on the cold, snowy freeway for hours.

"We're not moving. I mean, nothing is happening," she said, shortly before 4 p.m.  "I've seen a lot of, you know, ambulances go by, tow trucks, but traffic is just...we're just at a standstill."

She said she's been trying to stay warm, however, "I'm getting low on gas, so I'm turning my care off — trying to conserve the gas."

Authorities said buses were on their way to the crash site to transport stranded drivers involved in a warming center.

Jackson said he believes a jackknifed semi set of the chain-reaction crash, and snow was a factor.

"We had some weather, severe weather passing through. It was really white out conditions, and icy, slippery roads I think were the main causes of the accident," Jackson said.

At 8 p.m., US-23 southbound remained shut down at Michigan Ave. for an investigation.

York Township is located in Washtenaw county, west of Detroit.

For the latest from the roads, stay with WWJ Newsradio 950 during Traffic and Weather on the 8s, 24-hours a day. Check for recent incidents now on the CBS Detroit Traffic Page.

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