Some of the estimated 180 stranded motorists who were sheltered in Ashkum overnight were cut loose this (Monday) morning, sent on their way after being pulled off I-57 Sunday due to extreme weather conditions.
Ashkum Fire Chief Jeff Glenn said "everything went well," considering the trying conditions for travelers and rescue personnel. Glenn said eight firemen staffed the Ashkum Coliseum from about 8 pm Sunday 'til 8 this (Mon) morning.
Ambulance paramedics were also on scene for a few medical issues, but no patient transports were required.
Illinois State Police will assist those motorists still waiting to have their vehicles towed from ditches.
The Ashkum Coliseum and the Clifton Community Center were staffed by Ashkum and Chebanse Township firemen to assist the many motorists pulled off the interstate.
Several warnings issued Saturday and Sunday advised motorists to stay off the roads. But that warning often times is ignored, leading to problems for many not paying attention to the hazardous weather conditions.
Iroquois and Kankakee County posed problems for travelers along I-57 Sunday night.
District 21 experienced blizzard conditions in Kankakee and Iroquois County throughout the night. I-57 is currently snow covered and hazardous. U.S. and State Roadways are snow covered with sections that are not passable. Troopers will be stopping traffic to removing vehicles causing additional hazards on the Interstate. If you are traveling, please use caution and watch out for emergency equipment on the roadways.
Kankakee County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator Dave Zinanni reported several motorists were assisted overnight, including 23 people on a Greyhound bus that drove off I-57 at Manteno.
Currently more than 80 vehicles are stuck in ditches and medians throughout Kankakee and Iroquois County. Over 200 motorists were using the warming centers in Ashkum and Clifton.
Travel conditions are expected to remain hazardous as a result of continued high winds and dangerously low temperatures through Tuesday.
Before traveling, go to gettingaroundillinois.com for up-to-date winter driving conditions. To report an emergency or request assistance, dial 911 or *999 from your cellular phone.
Ashkum and Chebanse Township firemen staffed warming centers in Iroquois County overnight. The Ashkum Colliseum and the Community Center in Clifton provided some relief for stranded motorists pulled off I-57. Illinois State Police at Ashkum reported blinding conditions throughout Iroquois and Kankakee counties.
Ashkum Fire Chief Jeff Glenn reported between 160 - 180 people were provided shelter at the Colliseum. Another 40 plus people had to make do at the Community Center in Clifton where Chebanse Township firemen did their part.
The interstate and other state and county routes were a mess as blowing snow and slick roads made travel very hazardous. Weather conditions are expected to be a problem again today and tonight and into Tuesday morning.