Around noon on Valentine's Day, reports starting flowing in that there were multiple accidents out on Interstate 55 in Illinois. Some of the wrecks were multi-car crashes, blocking lanes and slowing traffic. With many of the accidents taking place near Gardner, the police eventually had to close the entire southbound side of the interstate down. This was done both to give them a chance to clear the roads of crashed vehicles and to ensure that more vehicles did not come along and run into those that had already crashed.
Additional accidents were a serious threat since there was so much snow that it was said to be a whiteout on the interstate. This often happens when snow is blowing through the open spaces, swirling in the air, as well as falling to accumulate on the roads; blowing and drifting snow can make it harder to see than any blizzard.
A number of the accidents happened right around 11 a.m. They were close to mile marker 227.
I-55 was not the only interstate impacted by these conditions. The police also responded to an accident over on I-80, and they had to shut down those lanes running east. This accident, which police said was not at all related to the first, took place near mile marker 111.
Motorists were injured in these accidents. The police said that none of the injuries were life-threatening, though.
Whiteout conditions can make it incredibly difficult to drive, and those who cannot stay home run the risk of being drawn into accidents with other vehicles. If you have lost a loved one in a winter crash, be sure that you know your legal options.
Source: Chicago Tribune, "Multiple vehicle accident shuts down SB I-55 near Gardner" Deanese Williams-Harris, Feb. 14, 2015