Springfield is now several inches closer to its snowiest winter on record. Friday’s total exceeded forecasts, dumping more than five inches on the city… and bringing the season total to within five inches of the all-time record set back in 1981 and 1982.
The snow is also blamed for a pileup collision on I-55 near Bloomington, involving dozens of cars and big rigs. 17 people were taken to the hospital with injuries from that crash.
A state Department of Transportation worker has been killed while helping to clear snow-covered roads in Stark County. 49-year-old Michael Holmes has reportedly gotten out of his plow to help a stranded motorist when he was struck by another vehicle that lost control in the snow. Governor Pat Quinn called Holmes a “hero” who was trying to make conditions safe for drivers, and ordered flags flown at half-staff in his honor.
Police are also investigating whether the snowy roads contributed to a fatal accident in Macoupin County. A Litchfield man is dead and another seriously injured after the vehicle they were in was struck by a train. State police say the driver failed to yield to the train at a rural crossing near old Route 66. Passenger Nicholas Rayphole was pronounced dead at the scene. Driver Brian Irwin was airlifted to Memorial Medical Center in Springfield.