Winter Storm Decima was to blame for at least one Southern Illinois death on Friday night, as a 23-year-old man suffered fatal injuries in a two-car accident on Route 153 a mile south of Lively Grove in Washington County.
According to the Illinois State Police"s preliminary report, a 2003 GMC van - driven by 45-year-old Becka Heitman of Addieville - was traveling north on Route 153 in Washington County when the vehicle slid on the icy roadway and entered the southbound lane.
The GMC then collided head-on with a southbound 1995 Dodge pickup, driven by 60-year-old Klif Kline, of Coulterville.
Robert C. Loouveau, of Addieville, was a front seat passenger in Heitman"s vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene by the Washington County Coroner"s office. Heitman is Loouveau"s mother.
In a news release, Washington County Coroner Mark Styninger stated Loouveau was not wearing his seatbelt and cause of death was blunt force trauma due to the collision.
The manner was ruled as accidental and an autopsy will not be performed.
Both Heitman and Kline suffered major injuries in the accident and were transported to a local hospital before being transferred to a St. Louis-area hospital. According to family members posts on Facebook, Kline was to be released from the hospital on Saturday.
Route 153 was closed at the crash scene for five hours for accident investigation and cleanup. Styninger noted that all occupants of the vehicles had to be extricated by the Coulterville Fire Department.
The accident was reported at 6:04 p.m. and was just one of a plethora of wrecks to occur as a result of the storm.
According to the Facebook page for the ISP"s District 11 office in Collinsville, at least 130 accidents were pending attention from a District 11 trooper at the height of the storm.
The ISP reported 475 total calls for service, 298 of which were accidents, between the hours of 4 p.m. Friday and 3 a.m. Saturday.
Winter Storm Decima brought freezing drizzle to Southern Illinois, creating a light glazing of ice that made parking lots, sidewalks, roads and other untreated surfaces hazardous.
The region was tested again on Saturday night, as the National Weather Service"s St. Louis office issued a winter weather advisory for the area.
An arctic cold front - with showers and thunderstorms preceding it - caused temperatures to drop from the upper 50s and lower 60s on Saturday morning to near freezing in a six-hour period..
Additionally, wind chill values ranged from near zero to the lower teens.