Ice causes problems for drivers and pedestrians

February 20, 2008 4:12:09 PM PST
Icy conditions caused many accidents in the Chicago area Wednesday morning. For a second straight day, there has been a chain-reaction pileup that has shut down the Interstate 94 in Indiana. At least 12 semis and 15 cars were involved in the crash in the westbound lanes near Michigan City.

Lake effect snow made conditions very slippery. Six miles of westbound lanes between Michigan City and LaPorte were closed while workers cleared the wreckage and diesel fuel. There were no seriuos injuries reported.

Authorities say that speeding during snowy road conditions was partially to blame for the wreck. Between two and three inches of snow fell overnight making driving slick along the highway and heavy snow was falling when the crash occurred.

There were more than 90 crashes on interstates 80, 90 and 65.

There were also dozens of spin outs and fender benders in Illinois.

The Bishop Ford was one of the messiest highways Wednesday morning. Because of the icy conditions, cars kept sliding off the road and into each other. A steady stream of tow trucks and a full I-DOT crew helped motorists throughout the commute.

The ice was frustrating on foot as well. I-DOT minuteman wiped out while trying to help drivers near 103rd Street.

Traffic was backed up for miles. Earl Bell decided to play it safe and get some extra gas.

"This is my day for taking my mother in law. I better fill up, I don't want to get stuck in this kind of weather," said Earl Bell, motorist.

It was also a very frustrating commute on 80/94 Wednesday morning in northwest Indiana. Near Calumet Avenue, a jackknifed semi turned that highway into a big parking lot.

"You have to be careful, all the roads are very icy, so we have to go very slow," said Gary Acosta, motorist.

Both sides of I-57 near Sibley were backed up because of crashes. Motorists spent a long time waiting for the wrecks to be cleared. By 9 a.m. or so, traffic finally picked up again along I-57.

Thadius Moody, who was stuck for a while, says it was not fun to be driving on the highway Wednesday morning.

"Stuck in traffic. The roads were not salted at all, pretty dangerous, yes," said Thadius Moody, motorist.

I-DOT said it had half of its salt trucks on the raods, and said that having all of them out wouldn't have made a difference because the ice froze so quickly.

By car or by foot, traveling anywhere was a challenge because of black ice. Area emergency rooms reported an increase in patients the last few days who sustained injuries due to slipping and falling.

"Small flurries are covering up the black ice. People cannot see where the ice is located. We've seen a number of patients who have come in for musculoskeletal trauma, ankle sprains and fractures, wrists, things of that sort, one head trauma," said Dr. Nicholas Strane, University of Chicago Hospitals.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.