Church opens doors to those impacted by I-41 pileup

NOW: Church opens doors to those impacted by I-41 pileup

WINNEBAGO COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Michele Maki would have been on I-41 Sunday, if her pastor had not canceled church. 

"My pastor had called he wanted us to be safe and all I kept thinking was, 'Oh my heavens, that could have been me,'" she said in reference to the 100 plus vehicle pile up in Winnebago County Sunday. 

Instead of her church, she ended up at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Neenah, helping those who were in the pileup. She volunteers with the Red Cross. 

"It was pretty somber when I arrived these folks had been through a really traumatic experience and they were in shock, they were numb," she said. 

CBS 58 received video of the aftermath from a woman who lives in New Berlin and was on her way home from a wedding in Green Bay. She said it was the scariest experience of her life. She was not seriously injured. 

A woman who lives in Kenosha said 8 to 10 of her family members were in the pileup, on their way home from a weekend away in Appleton. She was also on her way home but was ahead of the crash. 

"It was a little bit of feeling terrible that we just got past that and that we couldn't be there to help anybody out or be with our family but also thankful that we didn't get involved ourselves," said Jenii Strzelecki. 

None of her family members were seriously injured. 

About 25 people who were involved in the crash were transported to Gloria Dei Lutheran Church. 

"A lot of them were in distress. Some of their loved ones were in the hospital so we were also in contact with the hospital making sure that they could know how their loved ones were doing," said Pastor Jon Gallatin. 

Giving comfort to those impacted by providing them with food, blankets, and just someone to listen to what they had experienced. 

"In his rearview mirror he saw this semi truck, thinking is it going to stop it time," Gallatin said about someone who came to his church, after a pileup that left one dead, and many others injured. 

"This was the biggest accident I’d ever heard of or seen. I don’t think I’ve even comprehended, just a 100 car pileup."

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