Pileups in Kan., Mo. caused by winter storm

Sunday, December 23, 2007
A man walked through the blowing snow Saturday in downtown Topeka, Kan. Visibility was limited by the heavy blowing snow, causing a pileup on Interstate 70 near Alma, Kan., and other accidents throughout the northeast part of the state. (ANTHONY S. BUSH ~ Topeka Capital-Journal)

A 40-mile stretch of Interstate 70 from Manhattan to Topeka was closed because of the crash.

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- Dozens of vehicles were involved in pileups on Interstate 29 in Missouri and Interstate 70 in Kansas that resulted in at least one death during a snowstorm Saturday, authorities said.

In Kansas, authorities reported a 30-car pileup on Interstate 70 near McFarland, about 30 miles west of Topeka, that happened shortly after noon. At least one person was killed in the accident, according to the highway patrol, which did not have additional details.

A 40-mile stretch of I-70 from Manhattan to Topeka was closed because of the crash, the patrol said. The wreckage was in the median, but the interstate was shut down in both directions, the patrol said.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol said preliminary reports were that 20 to 40 vehicles, including three semitrailers, were involved in the accident on I-29 at St. Joseph at about 1 p.m. The patrol closed the interstate from Dearborn, which is between Kansas City and St. Joseph, to the Iowa state line and said whiteout conditions were making it difficult to handle the accident.

It was not immediately clear how many people were injured or if there were any fatalities in that pileup.

Heartland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph said it was treating several people with injuries from the I-29 accident, but none of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening.

The National Weather Service said the two states were receiving a mix of snow, freezing rain and sleet.

By early afternoon, the storm had dropped up to 3 inches of snow in the hardest-hit areas, said National Weather Service meteorologist Julie Adolphson. The snow was falling so heavily that it was causing whiteout conditions in some places, she said.

The storm was expected to last into the evening, with up to 7 inches of snow in some parts of northwest Missouri and northeast Kansas, she said.

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