At least nine people, including a state trooper who was responding to a crash, have been killed amid a winter storm that has battered the Midwest and continues to dump several inches of snow in the Washington, D.C., metro area, reports the Washington Post.
The storm that began in parts of the Midwest on Friday battered traffic on highways with sleet and slush, left thousands without power and canceled dozens of flights and leaving dozens of casualties in its trail as it moved eastward.
Areas of Maryland and Virginia saw up to seven inches of snow. Eastern Kansas and western Missouri saw their highest snow totals in several years, according to the National Weather Service. The storm dumped more than a foot of snow in several parts of Missouri and nearly two feet in one city.
Missouri took the brunt of the damage, logging more than 800 snow-related crashes that injured 57 and killed four, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Among those killed were a 53-year-old woman and a 14-year-old relative. Authorities say the woman lost control while driving on a snow-covered road in rural Missouri on Friday and drifted into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
In a suburb of Chicago, Illinois State Police Trooper Christopher Lambert was standing outside his patrol car Saturday at the scene of a three-car crash when a driver struck him, authorities say. Lambert, a five-year veteran of the state police who previously served in the Army, died at a hospital.
“Trooper Lambert deliberately placed his vehicle in a position to protect the lives of the victims of the previous crash, and took on the danger himself,” Schmitz said in a statement. “He will be remembered for his dedication to the Illinois State Police and for giving the ultimate sacrifice to protect and serve the citizens of Illinois.”
Three storm-related deaths have been reported in Kansas, including a crash involving a 62-year-old man who lost control along the Kansas Turnpike.