Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

January 8, 2010

Winter storm hits hard

Area residents were greeted with a blanket of snow on the ground Thursday morning, as school children’s wish for a snow day came true.

Even though area students were thrilled with the snow, the winter precipitation and high winds made for treacherous roadways, contributing to one fatal accident and another serious accident on Interstate 70 Thursday morning. And it could get worse.

The area had a recorded snowfall of 2 inches Thursday morning and it continued to snow off and on throughout the day. The wind began to pick up Thursday afternoon and was expected to pick up more speed Thursday night, reaching about 20 miles per hour.

Although most highways were clear Thursday evening, high winds were expected to cause drifting in some areas that could surprise motorists with unexpected slick spots.

Most rural and city roads, however, remained snow covered Thursday evening and drifting was expected to make the rural roads even more hazardous.

Effingham city police, Effingham County sheriff’s deputies and Illinois State Police responded to a few accidents Thursday morning, including two serious accidents on southbound Interstate 57 near the 158 mile marker. One of the accidents was a fatal, and the first accident was believed to have caused the second. Interstate 70 between Effingham and Altamont was closed for a period of time Thursday morning as emergency personnel dealt with the accidents.

Effingham Fire Chief Joe Holomy, whose department responded to the scene does not know how long both lanes were closed, but said Illinois State Police were able to open one lane of traffic before both lanes were opened at about 11 a.m.

The first accident resulted in a fatality, along with several injuries and led to a second accident in which two people were injured.

According to Illinois State Police District 12, at 9:41 a.m. at milepost 158, Reginald Golden, 41, of Horn Lake, Miss., was northbound when he lost control of the vehicle he was driving on the snow-covered roadway, crossed the median, traveled onto the right southbound lane of the interstate and was struck broadside on the passenger side by a tractor-trailer driven by Jeffry Mankowski, 43, of Massillon, Ohio. Golden then slid down a steep embankment and the vehicle traveled approximately 100 feet before coming to a rest. Mankowski’s tractor-trailer came to a rest along the left shoulder partially in the median.

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