Icy roads cause deadly accident

February 22, 2011 9:49:24 AM PST
Dangerous driving conditions resulted in spinouts and crashes across the city and suburbs.

A driver headed north on Route 53 near Schaumburg hit a concrete barrier on the left shoulder. Police say when the 35-year-old man from Round Lake got out to inspect the damage, he was struck by another car and thrown into the southbound lanes, where he was struck by a third vehicle.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

In another part of the area, a DuPage Co. squad car was rear-ended Monday night in Burr Ridge while responding to the scene of a multi-car accidentv on Route 83 near Interstate 55.

Lake Shore Drive also was temporarily shut down near 58th Street after a crash involving at least seven vehicles. Inbound lanes between Oakwood Boulevard and the southern end of Lake Shore Drive were closed for about an hour.

Conditions were equally dangerous across Chicago's southern suburbs. In Shorewood, seven people were injured in a multi-car crash that also involved a semi-truck. I-DOT crews shut down part of Interstate 55 temporarily so they could salt the expressway.

A multiple car crash was reported in Itasca on the Eisenhower Extension, just south of Elgin O'Hare.

Problems were also reported at a small Chicago-area airport. A small plane slid off the runway at the Palwaukee Airport in northwest suburban Wheeling. The one person in the plane from Valparaiso was not hurt.

FAA officials said they were investigating.

Late Monday, a winter weather advisory was in effect for Cook County and areas to the north of Chicago. ABC7 meteorologist Jerry Taft said the Chicago area could get 1-2 inches of snow. That advisory was canceled Tuesday morning.

Police were busy responding to crashes on nearly every highway Monday night. Both the city and state said they had full complements of salt trucks out.

"Shortly before 9 o'clock, we put orders out for a full group of trucks and plows and salt-spreading equipment in the north, northwest and west suburbs with half a group in the south and southwest suburbs. We are really seeing a mix of everything, the whole gamut from sleet and freezing rain to snow," said Guy Tridgell, IDOT spokesperson.

Illinois State Police sent out an advisory to warn drivers to take extreme caution on the roads. They said drivers should avoid any sudden braking or quick lane changes.

Overnight, a new winter storm slammed into parts of the upper Midwest, dumping snow at a rate of up to 3 inches an hour in some places.

Over a foot of snow fell across parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin, virtually closing the Minneapolis airport.

"I stepped outside and said a few prayers. Hope to get home. What else can you do?" said Ray Moore who was stranded in Minneapolis.

The heavy rain pushed many rivers over their banks including the Des Plaines River which flooded roadways in Des Plaines.

As early as Monday morning, some freezing temperatures and light freezing drizzle created treacherous driving conditions across the northern suburbs, leading to several accidents.

With more snow expected, many Chicagoans are ready for winter to be over.

"It's always been like this since I was a kid, you know. A couple weeks ago, there was snow up to here, and now we are starting all over again," Sherman Booker.

"Like anybody, I'm ready for warmer weather, and especially this icy stuff that's coming down," said Brian Meeks.

But for some, the snow is actually an opportunity to make a living.

"It's work. Anybody who has got work is lucky now, aren't they? So it is a positive for me," said Brian West.

This is the third snowiest February on record.