One accident led to another, then another and then more on Interstate 39 south of the Tonica exit while Saturday’s 4- to 5-inch snow was accumulating.
Approximately 20 drivers or passengers were involved in a series of accidents near the same location, and, according to Tonica Fire Department, “two people were injured seriously enough to require Oglesby ambulance to transport them to Illinois Valley Community Hospital, Peru.
The Tonica department was called at 11:12 a,m, about a multiple-vehicle accident. The department sent an ambulance, rescue/pumper truck and rescue truck, and arrived to find “multiple vehicles in both the northbound and southbound ditches, plus the center median.”
Tonica requested additional ambulances from Oglesby.
“Due to the poor weather conditions additional accidents continued to occurred south of the original incident,” according to the fire department.
Illinois state and conservation police responded to assist after more than one dozen vehicles either struck other vehicles or fixed objects or became disabled off the roadway in deep snow.
Many tow trucks were needed to clear the scene of the damaged vehicles. Many of the people who were not injured received rides to the Tonica fire station for food and shelter until they could arrange transportation.
Work at the accident scene was completed just after 1:30 p.m.
Expect blustery conditions with a high in the mid-30s and some snow melt today, a low around 20 Monday morning and then a significant cold snap Tuesday, with a low below zero, wind chill readings to 19-below in the wee hours and a high around 6, according to National Weather Service and The Associated Press.