100-Car Pile Up Shuts Down Highway Amid Winter Storm

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Melanie Wilcox Contributor
Font Size:

More than 100 cars crashed during a snowstorm Thursday on Interstate 39 in Illinois, causing the highway to be shut down.

The pile-up occurred near El Paso, a city about 124 miles southwest of Chicago, according NBC News. The Illinois Department of Transportation tweeted early Friday that because of the pile-up, the stretch of Interstate 39 between Normal and Minonk was not expected to reopen until at least midday.

“I-39 from Normal to Minonk will be closed for approx. 12 hours due to multiple crashes involving over 100 vehicles,” Illinois State Police previously tweeted late Thursday. “Together, with our local partners, we are diligently working to ensure motorists are safely escorted from the area to warming centers.”

“We’re asking everyone to avoid the area,” a state trooper said in the accompanying video. “Please do not travel unless it’s an emergency.” (RELATED: Severe Winter Storm Slams The East Coast Causing Over 200,000 Power Outages)

The state police also issued a travel advisory regarding the crashes Thursday, and the Illinois Department of Transportation provided information about detours for the closed portion of highway.

Over 50 million Americans received alerts Thursday for inclement weather, including snow, flooding and heavy rain, NBC News reported. The winter storm is moving northeast and is expected to bring snow, strong winds and white-out conditions Saturday, the outlet reported.