MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. (AP) — First responders called to a 46-vehicle crash that killed three people on an Indiana highway say it’s a miracle the death toll wasn’t higher.

Thursday’s pileup on Interstate 94 near Michigan City in white-out conditions killed a Michigan couple and a Chicago man and injured more than 20 others.

Coolspring Township Fire Chief Mick Pawlik said Friday that vehicles were smashed together and some were on top of others when crews arrived at the mile-long crash scene. He says he hopes never to see anything that bad again.

One survivor, Jeffrey Rennell of Michigan, spent more than three hours trapped in his SUV that Pawlik said was on top of another vehicle and “encased in semis.”

Pawlik helped free the 48-year-old married father, who suffered only a broken leg.

(AP Photo: In this photo provided by the Indiana State Police, emergency crews work at the scene of a massive pileup involving more than 40 vehicles, many of them semitrailers, along Interstate 94, Thursday afternoon, Jan. 23, 2014, near Michigan City, Ind.)

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