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MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. - Three people died and more than 20 others were injured Thursday in a massive pileup involving tractor-trailers and passenger vehicles on Interstate 94 in northwestern Indiana.

The Indiana State Police said one injured person remained trapped several hours after the series of crashes, which occurred about 3:30 p.m. near Michigan City, Ind., between Exits 26 and 40. Police blamed the pileup, which involved about 15 semis and 15 other vehicles, on whiteout conditions from a lake-effect storm blowing through the region.

All eastbound lanes were closed, and several state roads were either closed or blocked in what was called a "critical disruption" of traffic. Traffic was being rerouted slowly on the westbound lanes.

Whiteout conditions also caused several other crashes on I-94, which troopers called "impassable."

Drivers were urged to avoid the area, about 50 miles east of Chicago.