Dangerous Ice Causes Crashes, Spinouts
UPDATED 02/22/11 1 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – Dangerous ice is being blamed for numerous accidents and spinouts on Chicago area roadways.
CBS 2 Meteorologist Megan Glaros says in some north suburban areas, the snow early Tuesday had reduced visibility to 2 1/2 miles. But in most areas, the snow was a mere nuisance, and ice was the greatest threat.
The ice shut down the entire Yellow Line-Skokie Swift ‘L’ early Tuesday, from Howard Street to its terminal in Skokie. By 8:30 a.m., the Yellow Line was running normally again.
City crews also had to close Lake Shore Drive Monday night, after a multi-vehicle crash near the Museum of Science and Industry.
Six to seven vehicles were involved in the crash around 5800 south. Police said no life-threatening injuries were reported, but the southbound Drive had to be shut down between Oakwood Boulevard and its southern end at Marquette Drive.
Lake Shore Drive was back open for the morning rush.
Raymond J. Leveque, 64, of Fond du Lac, Wis., was a front seat passenger in the 1997 Ford Expedition and was pronounced dead at the scene after he was ejected during the crash, on Interstate 65 near DeMotte, Ind. according to a release from Indiana State Police. Two others were injured.
A man was also killed Monday in crash on Route 53 near Schaumburg. A vehicle traveling in the northbound lanes of Route 53 at the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) near Schaumburg at 7:45 p.m. struck the concrete median on the left shoulder, and the driver got out to examine the damage. Two more vehicles hit the man, who was dragged several feet.
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The man, identified as Abhijit P. Anturkar, 35, of the 300 block of West Meadow Mist Lane in Round Lake, was pronounced dead on the scene, according to a representative of the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.
In an incident Tuesday morning, icy roads sent a school bus off the road in Vernon Hills. The bus was transporting students from Aspen School, at 500 N. Aspen Dr. in the northern suburb, when its driver attempted to avoid a skidding car and ended up sliding off the road.
Six children were taken to Advocate Condell Medical Center for precautionary purposes. The rest were evaluated on scene and transferred to another bus to get to school.
The city Department of Streets and Sanitation dispatched 174 snow-fighting trucks at 8 p.m. Monday, according to a statement from spokesman Matt Smith. They patrolled the city’s main roads and the Drive overnight, and at 9 a.m. Tuesday, they moved to the side streets.
Illinois Department of Transportation crews are also plowing and salting expressways, and state police urge motorists to slow down.
Meanwhile, black ice has been posing a threat to motorists, as a consequence of freezing rain. In the south suburbs, they were littered with spinouts, fender benders, and multi-car pileups.
“It’s Chicago,” one woman said. “It got really cold; it was raining. It causes ice, and you just slow down.”
Big rigs and small cars alike found their way into ditches, or into each other.
“I was driving, and the car skidded, and my life flashed before my eyes,” a man said.
Tow truck drivers say they can barely keep up with all the crashes.
The forecast high Tuesday is 29, with light snow continuing in the morning.
Glaros says sunshine is expected in the second half of the day Tuesday, at least for a while. But a stubborn active weather pattern will keep conditions miserable for the rest of the week and into the weekend.
On Wednesday, a wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain is expected as a new low pressure system pushes in.
On Thursday night and Friday, a storm system is expected to develop into the southern Plains, and significant snowfall and mixed precipitation across much of Illinois and Indiana is expected, the National Weather Service reported.
Snow is also anticipated Friday night into Saturday, and the active weather pattern isn’t expected to calm down until Sunday.
But temperatures are expected to remain in the 20s and 30s all through the coming week.
The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.