State police handled more than 2000 calls during Thursday’s storm – Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette

February 19, 2022 by No Comments

PESOTUM — A master sergeant in District 10 was one of five Illinois State troopers hit while investigating traffic crashes during Thursday’s winter storm.

Only one of the troopers was injured badly enough to require a hospital visit, and that trooper’s injuries were described as minor.

Police said they responded to more than 2,000 calls for service, 827 motorist assists and 303 traffic crashes. And cars were still having trouble Friday afternoon on slick highways.

About 6:30 p.m. Thursday, the District 10 sergeant was parked in the right lane of westbound Interstate 74 about 4 miles west of Prospect Avenue providing traffic control for a tow truck when a 35-year-old semi driver from Houston failed to stop, slid on the road and hit the rear of his squad car. The truck driver was ticketed for failure to reduce speed to avoid a crash; neither he nor the sergeant were injured.

There had been multiple slide-offs and crashes on I-74 both east and west of Champaign beginning early in the afternoon.

By 3:30 p.m., troopers had closed I-74 eastbound 2 miles west of Mansfield and were reporting white-out conditions in a 20-mile stretch between Champaign and Mansfield.

About that same time, multiple crashes were happening on I-39 near El Paso, about 10 miles north of Normal.

At 6:40 p.m., state police reported that more than 100 commercial carriers and private vehicles were involved in crashes in a 31-mile stretch of I-39 between Normal and Minonk.

I-39 was closed for about 24 hours as troopers rescued motorists and tow trucks moved in to remove mangled semitrailers and debris from the highway, including car parts strewn about from a semi that split open. That process took until midday Friday.

Multiple crashes on I-57 near Rantoul also closed a portion of that highway Thursday evening.

Throughout the day Friday, troopers reported traffic slowed to a crawl from gawking motorists who were taking photos of what remained of several Thursday crashes.Other crashes happened Friday both north and south of Rantoul on the still-slick highway.



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