Corey Williams

DETROIT: Snow squalls and slippery roads led to a series of accidents that left at least three people dead and 20 injured on a mile-long stretch of roadway in Detroit on Thursday.

Michigan State Police Lt. Michael Shaw said the deaths and injuries happened in a chain-reaction crash on a mile-long stretch of Interstate 75 on the southwest side of the city. The injured, including children, have been taken to hospitals, Shaw said.

“We’re not sure of the cause,” Shaw told The Associated Press. “Some witnesses said there were white-out conditions.”

SUVs with smashed front ends and cars with doors hanging open sat scattered across the debris-littered highway between jackknifed tractor-trailers. Motorists and passengers who were able to a get out of their vehicles huddled together on the side of the road, some visibly distraught, others looking dazed.

A man and woman hugged under the gray, cloud-filled skies, a pair of suitcases next to them and what appeared to be a car bumper on the ground behind them.

More than two dozen vehicles, including tractor-trailers, were involved in the pileups. Shaw said many people had to be pulled out of vehicles and that scores of vehicles not involved in crashes were stuck.

Numerous fire engines and ambulances were on the scene, which included smashed and dented vehicles. Shaw said it could be hours before the freeway reopened.