Accidents pile up after newest layer of snow

Accidents pile up after newest layer of snow

The fresh snow that blanketed Central Illinois early Saturday, accompanied by winds, had area police and highway crews scrambling.

"There are a lot of cars in the ditches," Master Sgt. Kevin Riddle of the state police post at Pesotum said Saturday. "They find themselves on a dry stretch and think it's okay to get back up to speed and then they come to a spot where there's snow blowing across and they can't get slowed back down."

Champaign County Highway Maintenance Supervisor Tracy Wingler said he believed about 4 inches came down from Friday evening to Saturday.

"It seemed like a lot for an Alberta Clipper," he said.

By late afternoon, winds had died down enough to allow his crews to get the snow pushed back on county highways. But the melting during the day, combined with dropping temperatures, were making for hazardous travel.

"Right now, everything is a sheet of ice from all the blowing, traffic and the sun we had this afternoon. That just put a glaze on everything," Wingler said Saturday night.

He hoped that his crews could be done by noon today.

State police and county sheriff's deputies responded to "dozens" of motorist assistance calls all afternoon and into the late evening hours, according to Riddle and Sgt. Curt Apperson of the Champaign County Sheriff's Office. Most involved motorists sliding off the road and into ditches or medians. No accidents involving serious injuries were reported.

Just after 4 p.m. Friday, before the snow had even started, a van with two adults and three children rolled over, coming to rest on its top on Illinois 10, just west of Illinois 47 near Bondville. State police said all five were properly restrained and were treated and released from Carle Hospital. The driver, Cassandra Fuller, 24, of Rantoul, was ticketed for driving too fast for conditions.

At the Champaign police station Saturday, there were 28 reports posted from accidents that occurred Thursday and Friday. Almost all appeared to be related to the snow, such as people not able to slow down at intersections because of slick roads and rear-ending someone or high piles of snow at intersections limiting visibility. None of the reports available for inspection resulted in serious injury.

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