At least one person killed in 14-car crash in St. Louis

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

ST. LOUIS -- One person was killed and several others injured Tuesday in a pileup involving more than a dozen vehicles on Interstate 70 in eastern Missouri.

The wreck happened at about 12:30 p.m. on westbound I-70 near Warrenton in Warren County, about 50 miles west of St. Louis.

Roads in the region were slick from sleet and freezing rain, but Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Al Nothum said it wasn't immediately clear if the weather caused the wreck. The patrol sent its accident reconstruction team to the site.

Names of the victims were not released. By early afternoon, the patrol still wasn't certain how many vehicles were involved. A reporter for the Washington Missourian counted 14 vehicles in the accident, including four tractor-trailers.

Patrol officials also didn't immediately know how many people were hurt, but several ambulances were on the scene. "They're taking people (to hospitals) left and right," Nothum said.

Westbound I-70 in the area was completely shut down for a lengthy time after the wreck, causing a lengthy traffic jam.

"It's quite a mess out there," Nothum said.

The weather caused numerous other accidents around the state. The patrol's website listed ice-related accidents from the Kansas City area through the Missouri Bootheel.

At least one other fatal crash was reported. Two people died Tuesday morning after their car skidded across the median on icy Interstate 35 in northwest Missouri's Clay County and slammed into a sport utility vehicle, the patrol said.

National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Truett said freezing rain hit several parts of the state.

"It's kind of an odd situation," Truett said. "Temperatures are hovering around the freezing mark around the whole state of Missouri. Almost all locations are within a degree or two of freezing. So we've got that icy mix going on."

More slippery weather was in the forecast in northern Missouri for Christmas Eve. Some sections of the northern part of the state could see 1-3 inches of snow, perhaps with some freezing rain mixed in.

High temperatures on Wednesday will range widely -- from the low 20s in northwest Missouri to the low 50s in the Bootheel, Truett said.

Christmas Day is expected to be dry with highs ranging from the mid-30s to the low-40s.

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