MILWAUKEE (AP) — Snow contributed Sunday to at least two fatal accidents and numerous other pileups that injured dozens of people in southern Wisconsin.
The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office described conditions on the interstates as “extremely slippery and dangerous” with multiple pileups, including a fatal rollover on Interstate 43 eastbound at Highway 100.
In Racine County just to the south, the sheriff’s office said one man was killed in a crash on Interstate 94 in the town of Yorkville. Lt. Daniel Klatt said it was weather related. The freeway was snow-covered and very slippery with ice present at the time. The southbound lanes had to be closed for several hours.
Multiple accidents were reported on other highways in the region as well. The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office said it handled 33 crashes in which nobody was hurt and six personal injury crashes in addition to the fatal crash. Those crashes included a 41-vehicle pileup on I-894 that sent 10 people to hospitals. Nine had been released by Sunday night and the last one was expected to go home soon, the sheriff’s office said.
Authorities recommended no travel for much of the day in Racine County, where the sheriff’s office said it handled around 60 crashes, with about half of those happening on I-94, and it expected the number to grow as investigations continued.
An Associated Press reporter saw several pileups — plus other accidents and cars off the road — along several miles of the closed highway near Racine. The opposite lanes remained open.
The State Patrol said it handled at least 12 crashes as well as numerous spinouts and disabled vehicles in southeastern Wisconsin by late afternoon.
Wheaton Franciscan hospitals in Racine and nearly Franklin received 40 patients with injuries from motor vehicle crashes over about three hours Sunday, spokeswoman Jennifer Garbo-Shawhan said. Most of the injuries were minor, she said.
But WTMJ-TV reported that 18 patients were sent to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee with crash injuries, including six in critical condition. Hospital officials did not immediately return messages from the AP.
North of Milwaukee, the Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Office reported 40 to 50 cars and a semi were involved in crashes on Interstate 43 with an unknown number of injuries.
Emily Maccari, 23, of Kenosha, was stuck in traffic on I-94 in Racine County just before noon.
“Every five minutes, we’ll move maybe like 10 feet,” she told the Racine Journal Times from the road.
To the west, all southbound lanes on I-39 near Janesville were blocked by multiple crashes for nearly two hours before reopening. Accidents led to full or partial closures on several other highways as well.
Not much snow had fallen by the time the crashes started happening late Sunday morning. The National Weather Service reported 1.6 inches in Racine around 1 p.m. and 1.2 inches at the Milwaukee airport around noon. Temperatures were in the mid-20s.
Up to 5 inches of snow was forecast across much of southern Wisconsin by Monday. Winds off Lake Michigan could bring heavier snowfalls of 6 inches or more in northern Ozaukee and Sheboygan counties, the weather service said.