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Newschannel 3 looks into safety on I-94 after crash
KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Newschannel 3 is taking a closer look at a stretch of I-94 in Kalamazoo County, following a crash near Galesburg that shut down part of the highway for several hours.
The Kalamazoo County Sheriff says a semi-truck was merging onto the highway, when it was rear-ended by a Greyhound bus on Thursday morning near the Climax exit.
Nearly 2 dozen people on the bus were hurt.
65-year-old Cecillia Chang, from Darien, Illinois, was critically injured in the crash, but the Sheriff's Office says she's now in stable condition.
The driver of the bus was 64-year-old Thomas Jackson, from Chicago and the driver of the semi was 54-year-old David Diebold from Portage.
Newschannel 3 spoke with several drivers on Friday, and actually got mixed reactions regarding the section of highway from the Climax exit to the I-94 Business Loop in Kalamazoo County.
Most of the truck drivers said they don't have an issue there, but it was a different story with folks in cars.
According to the Michigan Department of Transportation, that stretch is part of the busiest section of four lane highway in the entire state.
It's also an area that's seen quite a few crashes.
Galesburg residents and frequent drivers of the area lamented the amount of people speeding in the area, and the high number of crashes.
The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning says the stretch of highway has seen about 670 crashes over the last five years--with 185 people injured and one death.
But Nick Schirripa with M-DOT says it's not a dangerous area, and most truck drivers we spoke to agreed.
Schirripa says the data just doesn't support the need for change--as he says it comes down to driver behavior, and not the makeup of the road.
"It is no different in design or in safety," he said. "It is no different than any other section of divided four-lane highway in the state."
Even though some drivers we spoke to disagreed with that assessment, the section of highway won't change anytime soon.
"We don't have bottomless pockets; we don't have endless amount of time and resources," Schirripa said. "We do the best we can with what we have."
State Police say that part of the problem is that they have a hard time keeping an eye on the section of highway because of the concrete barrier and no place to set up a patrol car.
So in effect, you have heavy traffic, several speeders, and no one to enforce the problem.