Manteno woman dies in Bureau County crash

Published: Monday, Dec. 9, 2013 4:09 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Dec. 9, 2013 5:00 p.m. CDT

SHEFFIELD — The first snowfall of the season brought only about 1.8 inches of snow to Bureau County on Sunday, but it was enough to create slick road surfaces, causing traffic crashes throughout the area. One Bureau County crash has left a motorist dead.

On Monday, Bureau County Coroner Janice Wamhoff confirmed Suzanne McIlvain, 48, of Manteno, Ill., was pronounced dead at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the scene of a car versus semi crash that occurred on Interstate 80 near Route 40, in rural Sheffield.

Wamhoff confirmed McIlvain’s vehicle had been traveling eastbound on Interstate 80, and the semi was traveling westbound on Interstate 80. For some reason, McIlvain’s vehicle left the roadway and struck the semi in the westbound lane, Wamhoff said.

Wamhoff couldn’t say for sure whether or not the accident was weather-related, but confirmed the roads were snowy and a little slick. She said she didn’t believe alcohol was a factor in the accident.

An inquest has not been scheduled. Wamhoff said she will wait on the results of toxicology reports before deciding whether or not to schedule an inquest.

In other crash reports, Illinois State Police responded to a two-vehicle crash at 9:08
p.m. Sunday on Interstate 80, eastbound at mile marker 79, just east of Bureau County.

According to a press release issued Monday by ISP Trooper Craig Graham, Robin G. Mende, 54, of Joliet was entering Interstate 80, eastbound from Interstate 39 northbound, when she lost control of her vehicle and drove into the pathway of a vehicle driven by Berry A. Placher, 42, of Wyoming, Ill. Mende was driving a 2006 LeSabre, Placher was driving a 2012 Peterbilt tractor/trailer. Both drivers were transported to Illinois Valley Community Hospital. The report does not confirm whether or not the crash was weather-related.

District 17 State Police reported eight crashes and 13 requests for assistance during the weekend.

Though no weather-related accidents were reported in Princeton during the weekend, Princeton Police Tom Root said drivers do need to take extra precautions as they get used to driving on the winter streets and roads again. Obviously, the main concern is speed, he said.

Drivers need to take into account the icy or snowy conditions and remember more distance will be required when stopping, Root said. The other concern is visibility and drivers need to make sure their windshields are clear of snow and ice, the police chief said.

Bureau County Sheriff John Thompson was unavailable by press time for an update on any weather-related crashes in other areas of the county.

However, as reported earlier in the Bureau County Republican, Thompson has said drivers need to slow down as they make their adjustments to winter driving, allowing for extra travel time during snowy or icy conditions. They should also make sure windshields, headlights, tailgates and windows are cleared before driving. Also, drivers need to be especially careful on bridges and overpasses which may freeze before the roads do, the sheriff said.

On Monday, WQAD meteorologist James Zahara said the weekend snow is over for now but the Quad Cities area could experience some light snow on Wednesday night, possibly in the one-inch range. However, the arctic cold temperatures will remain for the next several days, before they are expected to reach the freezing mark by Friday for the first time in more than a week, Zahara said.

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