130+ cars crash in 2 Ohio pileups

Jan. 21, 2013 at 8:40 PM

CHICAGO, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- A snow squall in Cincinnati Monday slickened roads and blinded motorists, triggering two massive pileups that left a 12-year-old girl dead, authorities said.

The crashes on Interstates 275 and 75 also left about 20 people injured, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

The pileup on I-275 took place about 11:30 a.m. and involved at least 87 cars and trucks by the time it was over. The highway was closed for hours.

"It was just chaos, absolute chaos," Lt. Tory Smith of the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office told the Enquirer.

The newspaper said the unidentified 12-year-old girl died when she got out of her car after the accident and was struck by a steel guardrail cable that snapped after being hit by a car.

Up to 50 vehicles were part of the I-75 pileup that occurred about the same time.

While the squall left no more than an inch of snow, an Ohio Highway Patrol spokeswoman said it created "whiteout" conditions.

Many people in the U.S. Midwest faced icy winds that caused power outages and wind chills near 50 below zero Monday, officials said.

The coldest wind-chill temperatures were in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, NBC News reported.

The freezing weather was a particular threat to people left without heat and lights. About 40,000 customers of Detroit's DTE Energy remained without power early Monday. At one point, after the power went out Sunday, electricity was out for 120,000 customers.

DTE said the "vast majority" of its customers would have power restored by midnight Monday.

Chicago meteorologist Cheryl Scott said wind chills could remain near 15 below zero, ending two years of relatively warm winters.

Winds blowing across the unfrozen Great Lakes were expected to produce lake-effect snows from western Michigan to western New York, Accuweather.com said.

Residents of that region braced for the possibility of heavy snow, officials said.

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