(Adds crash, treatment details)
CHICAGO, Jan 23 (Reuters) - At least three people were killed and more than 20 injured in multiple crashes involving nearly four dozen vehicles Thursday afternoon along an ice-slicked interstate highway in northwest Indiana, officials said.
Forty-six vehicles, including 17 tractor-trailers and two other trucks, crashed in icy conditions, shutting down eastbound Interstate 94 near Michigan City, Indiana, likely until early on Friday morning, Indiana State Police spokeswoman Ann Wojas said.
Snow fall had reduced visiblity to the point of "whiteout conditions" along the stretch of highway, Wojas said.
Firefighters working hours after the crash were able to pull another injured person from a vehicle and were focusing on clearing the wreckage and searching for other casualties, Wojas said.
LaPorte County Coroner John Sullivan described the scene as "grim" during an interview on the Chicago-area ABC TV station.
One critically injured patient among 13 transported to Franciscan St. Anthony Health facility in Michigan City had died and the other 12 suffered moderate and minor injuries, ABC reported.
Six people were in stable condition at Indiana University Health LaPorte Hospital in LaPorte following the crash, according to a hospital official. Only one was admitted for treatment. The others were being released.
State police said in their statement that two Michigan City buses were used to transport injured motorists and passengers to area hospitals and a warming station.
Michigan City is about 58 miles (93 km) east of Chicago. (Reporting by Mary Wisniewski, Brendan O'Brien, and Eric M. Johnson; Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Gunna Dickson, Eric Walsh and Ken Wills)
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