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Woman ID'd in fatal, weather-related crash on I-39

EL PASO (MCT) — The first significant snowfall of the season caused a variety of accidents Monday night and Tuesday morning, resulting in one fatality.

State police said a sport utility vehicle lost control about 8:15 p.m. on northbound Interstate 39 on the overpass crossing U.S. 24 and slid into the path of a semitrailer truck, state police said. Both vehicles went off the roadway and down an embankment, police said.

The SUV driver pronounced dead at the scene was identified as Sharon Goldasich, 71, of McNabb. Woodford County Coroner Tim Ruestman said she was on her way to visit family and friends in Putnam County at the time of the accident.

The semi driver, Abidir Hashi of Minneapolis, Minn., was not injured.

The accident occurred as the first measurable snowfall of the 2013-14 season arrived in Central Illinois. An artic cold front brought sharply colder conditions, turning rain into snow during the early evening hours Monday.

Some areas of McLean County received more than an inch of snow, well ahead of the average date of the first snowfall of the year.

"We are actually about two weeks ahead of the first average snowfall," said Matt Barnes, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lincoln. "We just had a very strong cold front come through and it brought some moisture with it."

Bloomington, Normal, Arrowsmith, Clinton and Lincoln all received at least 1 inch of snow.

Unseasonably cold temperatures kept the roads slick throughout most of the Tuesday-morning commute, causing accidents throughout Central Illinois. Several people were transported to local hospitals, but McLean County officials were not aware of any life-threatening injuries.

That is most likely the last winter weather the area will see for a few weeks, Barnes said.

"We will have a nice warm-up during the middle of the week and actually be up near normal toward the start of the weekend and maybe even above normal by getting up to 60 over the weekend," he said.

Temperatures are expected to be 42 degrees today, around 49 Thursday and 51 Friday. Saturday's forecast calls for a high of 55 degrees and a chance of showers.

• Roger Miller contributed to this report.

(c)2013 The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Ill.)
Distributed by MCT Information Services

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