Several fatalities on Illinois roads have resulted from recent icy conditions.
Four high school friends died when their car skidded out of control on a bridge and plunged into an icy creek in rural Illinois. Patrick O’Neil, the coroner for Will County, said that the driver probably lost control of the vehicle after hitting water or ice on the bridge.
The four teenagers were all from Wilmington, southwest of Chicago. They had been missing overnight before their bodies were found, and 20 people had joined in a search. Early the next morning, a school bus driver spotted a tire protruding from Forked Creek.
Emergency crews found that the guard rail was missing from the Ballou Road bridge. A dive team discovered the bodies inside the vehicle, a Mitsubishi Eclipse, which was pulled from the creek by a tow truck.
According to records, the vehicle was registered to one of the teens, Cheyenne Fender, 17. The other victims were Micalah Sembach, 15, Cody Carter, 15, and Matt Bailey, 14. Authorities are still investigating who was behind the wheel of the car when it crashed.
Micalah Sembah’s mother said that her daughter was never late, so when she did not arrive home, she knew something was wrong and filed a missing persons report with police.
In Belleville, Illinois, there were two fatal crashes in one night, and multiple other accidents causing injuries, along icy stretches of Route 13 and Route 15.
A head-on collision near the intersection of Routes 13 and 15 resulted in the deaths of Thomas Hutchison and his 9-year-old son, Zachary. Three others were injured in the collision.
In another accident the same night on Route 15, Tyieosha Dewalt, 17, and Robin Scott, 27, were both killed.
In the Chicago area, black ice was blamed for numerous minor accidents throughout the metropolitan region. Melted snow and rain combined with freezing temperatures to make for slick roadways. Accidents shut down traffic on some highways for periods of time. However, transportation officials said that warnings about inclement weather kept many people off the roads. Traffic volume was lighter than normal in the city, and major accidents were avoided.
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) reported that there have been 182 traffic fatalities in the state in the first 74 days of 2013, up from 151 in the same time period last year.