Anyone who lives in Chicago or the surrounding area is more than a little familiar with cold winter weather. Last month, when temperatures dropped and winter weather hit, snow and below-freezing degrees created icy roads, leading to an increase in traffic accidents. On the morning of April 15th, there were more than a dozen crashes reported in Chicago and the surrounding areas.
One crash, in particular, made major headlines, as over 50 cars and 3 semi-trucks were involved in a pileup on the Kennedy Expressway. According to a local news report covering the incident, the pileup occurred at around 5 in the morning. Fourteen individuals involved were transported to hospitals—which are already burdened by COVID-19 patients—and 45 others were evaluated for injuries at the scene. While fire officials and police made sure to do their job and respond appropriately to the tragic, and massive, incident, they did so whilst trying to maintain proper social distance, to lessen the risk of spreading COVID-19.
The crash was so massive that the expressway at North Avenue was shut down as it was cleaned up, with over a dozen Illinois Department of Transportation vehicles towing away cars that could not be driven. It was about five hours until the expressway was re-opened. While the crash is still under investigation, a Chicago Fire Department Deputy Chief stated that he thought speeding may have been a contributing factor. Vehicles driving quickly on icy roads are more likely to get into a crash, and then the vehicles behind them are unable to stop in time, and instead slide on the ice. This may explain why the pileup became so incredibly large.