PORTLAND, Mich. (WOOD) - A portion of westbound I-96 in Ionia County was closed for more than six hours after two semi-trucks and a Greyhound bus collided.
The crash happened around 11 a.m. Monday between the entrance and exit ramps of exit 67, which is where the highway connects to M-66.
Michigan State Police said the preliminary investigation shows traffic was stopping due to congestion caused by an earlier accident, west of this location.
A semi-truck struck then a stopped semi-truck, which then collided into a Greyhound bus, according to police.
"Was just sitting in the back and all of a sudden my head went into the window and heard a big boom," said bus passenger Anetta Clark, who was headed to Grand Rapids for a funeral. "I'm grateful to the alive. I really am."
The driver of the first semi-truck, a 42-year-old man from Chicago, was airlifted to a hospital with what Michigan State Police called "life-threatening injuries." He was listed as stable at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in downtown Grand Rapids as of Tuesday morning.
The second semi-truck driver and a few of the 20 bus passengers complained of minor injuries. They were treated at the scene.
The lieutenant in charge of the investigation blamed drivers paying too little attention for not only the big crash, but also minor mishaps up the road that caused the traffic jam. There is road construction in the area too, which also may have been a factor.
Bus passenger Virgil Nells said he is a professional driver and credited the bus driver's care with preventing vehicles stopped ahead from being hit.
"I was looking ahead and noticed that there was a traffic jam, and he applied his brakes and started slowing down, and gave himself a nice bit of distance between himself and the stopped traffic jam, and then that's when the truck hit," Nells said.
He and other bus passengers waited for another ride for more than two hours, taking shelter from the blazing sun in the shade of the luggage compartment.
The highway reopened around 6:20 p.m., according to the Michigan Department of Transportation.
A man is in jail, allegedly connected to 14 burglaries that occurred in Cass County this month.
A sheriff's deputy car and a Michigan State Police SUV were among the damaged vehicles.
Broadmoor Avenue has reopened after it was shut down due to a four-vehicle crash in Caledonia.