Illinois hit double hard with sleet, then snow

Lou Ryseff uses a shovel to clear away snow Tuesday in Belleville, Ill. Tim Vizer, The Associated Press

Lou Ryseff uses a shovel to clear away snow Tuesday in Belleville, Ill. Tim Vizer, The Associated Press

By Jim Suhr

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – A slow-moving storm buried parts of Illinois under several inches of snow Tuesday, closing schools, snarling freeway traffic and leaving at least two people dead.

In Collinsville, east of St. Louis, police said a 68-year-old and a 71-year-old were killed about 10:30 a.m. when the car in which they were riding slid into an oncoming tractor-trailer’s path.

Police said the crash happened as it was sleeting, and the roads were made hazardous by the storm that socked the region in two phases – first by pelting the area with sleet Monday night, then following that up with Tuesday’s snow blitz.

Around the Mississippi River town of Alton, about 30 miles north of St. Louis, there were reports of 9 inches of new snow, National Weather Service meteorologist Ted Schroeder said. “Driving conditions are horrible,” Schroeder said. “It is a mess.”

Central Illinois roads were slick, with light sleet mixed with snow, but only a relative handful of accidents were reported in the region, State Police Master Sgt. Rory Steidl said.

Associated Press Writer David Mercer in Champaign contributed to this report.