MICHIGAN CITY, IN (CNN) - An interstate pileup involving dozens of vehicles killed at least three people in northern Indiana on Thursday.
Adam Balser was driving to Michigan to meet up with a friend for a snowboard trip - his vehicle is now a crumpled mess.
"He told me in the phone call, 'I feel like I'm lucky to be alive.' After I saw the photo, I fully agreed with him," said his friend, Stephen Fletcher.
A person trapped inside a car for four hours, smashed between tractor-trailers, survived the crash.
Another victim, Blake O'Halloran was in the middle of this massive pile-up completely unscathed.
"I was actually untouched. My car has not a dent on it, not scratch on it ... I was just one of the very, very lucky ones," O'Halloran said.
Others were not so lucky.
Dozens more vehicles, some counts say 30, others say 45, were smashed to varying degrees on I-94 in Northern Indiana - some underneath the big rigs.
Rescuers spent hours trying to reach some of the victims. More than 20 people were taken to nearby hospitals.
"As the cars piled up, people hit the steering wheel, hit their window, hit their head on the windshields," said Neil Malhotra, a doctor at Franciscan Alliance Michigan City Hospital.
Indiana state police say the crash killed at least three people.
Another person suffered what were described as life-threatening injuries.
It took officials more than 17 hours to clear the road. Officials haven't said exactly how the accident happened, but heavy snow and windy conditions were likely a factor.
Crews took so long to clear the wreckage, because even after the rescue operations, they still had to figure out how to untangle this mangled mess of metal.
Copyright 2014 WLS, WGN, WSJV, Stephen Fletcher, Black O'Halloran via CNN. All rights reserved.