Several people were injured and at least one person was killed in multiple accidents in southeastern Wisconsin as snow caused treacherous driving conditions along roadways, officials said.
Accidents were being reported along Interstates 94 and 894, as well as I-39 and I-90. The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office described conditions as extremely dangerous and slippery, with multiple pileups, including a fatal rollover on I-94 eastbound at Highway 100.
One person was killed after a rollover crash on I-43 at Highway 100, the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office confirmed Sunday. A 39-year-old woman driver was ejected from her car and landed under another vehicle, police said.
She was pronounced dead at the scene but a 3-year-old passenger survived the crash.
Multiple crashes and pileups have been reported, and many stretches of highway are closed.
Police said around 38 incidents took place between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on the Milwaukee County Freeway system. Of those, 29 were crashes and eight were incidents of disabled vehicles where "uninjured" passengers had to by physically removed by officials, according to Fran McLaughlin with the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office.
Eighteen patients were sent to Froedtert Hospital due to car crashes during the storm, the hospital said. Six of those patients are currently in critical condition.
Road conditions are described by the Sheriff's Office as "extremely slippery and dangerous".
The Racine County Communications Department advised residents to stay off roads Sunday.
"Travel in Racine County is not advised," a press release from the department read. "Drivers should stay off of I-94. People should not travel in Racine County unless absolutely necessary."
Union Grove Fire Chief Tom Czerniak said southbound lanes of Interstate 94 were closed Sunday due to a series of accidents along the roadway.
Czerniak said an excess of seven semis and more than 30 cars were involved in the accidents.
The interstate will remain closed while workers remove vehicles and assist injured patients, he said.
Multiple injuries were reported and several of the injured were in serious condition, Czerniak said.
One of the crashed vehicles included a bus of people on their way to Frankfort, Ind.
“It was bad, you could barely see on the road,” said passenger Luis Alanis. “Next thing I knew I looked up and we were just swerving through cars, dodging cars and we ended up in a ditch.”
Alanis said one passenger suffered a knee injury in the accident.
A traffic accident in Racine County left all eastbound lanes of Interstate 94 blocked near Seven Mile Road for several hours, officials said.
The crash, which took place at 10 a.m., was expected to shut down lanes for more than two hours.
Traffic was being rerouted at Seven Mile Road and could enter again Highway 20, according to WisDOT.
There were also multiple car pileups on I - 894 and it was closed for three hours Sunday morning.
A winter weather advisory was issued for Kenosha County until 6 a.m. Monday, warning of snow accumulations between 3 and 5 inches.
"The snowfall, along with cold temperatures, will result in roads quickly becoming snow covered and slipper," the alert said.
Officials said the Illinois Tollway is prepared to mobilize its full fleet of 182 snowplows in response to the first winter storm of the season.
“Our Snow Operations team will monitor this storm closely and our snowplows are ready to begin plowing as soon as the snow hits the pavement,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. “We ask our customers to be patient during this season’s first snow event and give our snowplows the room needed to clear the roads.”
The Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation is also deploying 200 plows and salt spreaders Sunday as the winter weather moves into the city.