Winter storm causes Ind. pileups, highway closings

INDIANAPOLIS - A winter storm that dropped up to 3 inches of snow in parts of the state left Indiana highways glazed from Lake Michigan to the Ohio River on Thursday, contributing to pileups and other crashes that left one motorist dead and several others injured.

The crashes prompted Indiana State Police to close portions of several major highways, including Interstate 70 at several points, I-65 in central and southern Indiana and I-69 south of Fort Wayne.

The National Weather Service reported the snowfall amounted to only 1 to 2 inches in many locations -- a fraction of the 11 inches or more that paralyzed the state last week -- but it was enough to catch many motorists off guard.

On I-70 east of Indianapolis, a fatal crash closed the freeway in both directions at midday Thursday, Greenfield Police Chief John Jester said. Additional details were not immediately available. About 20 miles further east, a semitrailer rollover forced troopers to reroute traffic onto local roads.

West of Indianapolis, a semitrailer slammed into five stopped vehicles on I-70 near Brazil, critically injuring one driver still inside a vehicle and seriously injuring another standing outside, Sgt. Joe Watt of the State Police said.

In nearby Vigo County, six teenagers were hurt when a car slid through an intersection and into an SUV, but another crash involving a school bus caused no injuries, Chief Sheriff's Deputy Clark Cottom said. The sheriff's department handled more than 20 crashes and slide-offs in a two-hour period in Vigo County, he said.

"This morning's precipitation created a layer of black ice throughout the county," he said.

On I-65 southeast of Lafayette, a pileup involving several semitrailers, cars and trucks closed northbound lanes of I-65 Thursday afternoon. At the southern end of the state, a semitrailer rollover about 20 miles north of Louisville had closed northbound lanes of the freeway for more than an hour, police said.

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