TOPEKA, Kan. — A mixture of freezing rain, sleet and snow caused numerous accidents, several of them fatal, in Kansas, authorities said Sunday.
The Marion County Sheriff's Office said two people died around 5:15 p.m. Saturday on U.S. 56 when their car skidded sideways on an ice-covered bridge and was struck by a tractor-trailer. The victims were identified as Kenneth Brown, 57, and his wife Diane, 60, of Goddard, Deputy Michael Ottensmeier said.
Near the southwest Kansas town of Deerfield, one person died and five others were injured around 9 a.m. Sunday when an SUV out of control on an icy curve and rolled. The Kansas Highway Patrol identified the fatality victim as 51-year-old Raquel Alvarado of Deerfield.
In Shawnee County, the driver of a tractor-trailer died when the rig skidded on a slick stretch of Interstate 70 around 2:50 a.m. Sunday, rolled and caught fire, Sgt. Danny Lotridge of the sheriff's office said.
The accident shut down eastbound lanes of I-70 for several hours. Lotridge said the name of the victim was not immediately released.
Numerous non-fatal accidents also were reported, including one involving a Kansas Department of Transportation snowplow that landed on its top Sunday near the northeast Kansas town of Maple Hill.
Several church services and community events were canceled as a result of the weather.
Across the state line in Missouri, heavy slush temporarily shut down runways Sunday morning at the Kansas City International Airport. The airport's Web site showed that more than a dozen flights were canceled.
Meteorologist Sally Pavlow of the National Weather Service said a winter storm moved into the southwest part of the state Saturday night and began moving northeastward.
The north of the state experienced mostly snow, while the south was hit by a combination of freezing rain, sleet and snow. The precipitation was forecast to end by late Sunday.