It was like an automotive apocalypse today along eastbound Interstate 94, just west of Detroit.

There were crippled Chevies, flattened Fords and punctured Pontiacs as a yellow dump truck spilled its load of steel shavings on the express way, leaving hundreds of flat tires in its path.

"It was just like the "Ten Commandments' when Moses waved his hands and the seas opened up," said Art Cherry. "All the cars were heading for the shoulders at once. I've never seen anything like it."

For more than a mile, tiny steel shards slashed tires on hundreds of cars. Some cars were immediately striken, while others were able to drive for several miles before limping toward the shoulder. At some points, the expressway shoulders were solid with stranded motorists.

"We passed about 20 cars, all pulling off the road at once, and we wondered what in the world was going on," said Ruthy Mixon of nearby Belleville. "Then the back end of the car started swaying."

Cherry, a driver for Moody's Towing in Madison Heights, thought he was in heaven when he first saw all the cars peeling off the road.

"It would have been good for me. But it got to me, too," he said, pointing to his heavy wrecker, now resting on one rim.

Resignation reigned over the stranded motorists. "I've got two flats," said Frank Rigger, giving his tires a kick. "But look at that truck and trailer up there. Ten tires, 10 flats. Maybe I don't have it so bad."

Tow trucks and police cars roamed the eastbound lanes, administering aid where they could. Trucks and sweepers from the Wayne County Road Commission tried to wash away the shavings so that rehabilitated cars would not be waylaid again.

Taylor Police Lt. Robert Harshberger said "hundreds" of cars were counted along the shoulder, but that the total number of punctures may never be known.

"We're getting calls from people who got into Deroit before their tires finally went," he said.

One motorist trailed the truck believed to be the culprit to a Detroit address.

"We're having the Detroit Police check it out," Harshberger said.

"We would like to talk to the driver," he added. "In fact, I think there are a lot of people would like to talk to that guy."