News - McHenry County

Morning snow made for sloppy commute with crashes reported throughout McHenry County

A few injury crashes were reported, but most were property damage only, responders said

A Crystal Lake Department of Public Works snowplow clears snow Jan. 25, 2023, from Talismon Drive in Crystal Lake. Snow fell throughout the morning, leaving a fresh blanket of snow in McHenry County.

The city of McHenry had its first salt trucks out on the roads by 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, McHenry Public Works Department Director Troy Strange said.

The first crash in McHenry came two hours later, about 5:30 a.m., McHenry Police Department spokesman Mike Spohn said.

Crashes – mostly minor but a few that involved injuries requiring transportation to an area hospital – were reported around McHenry County as the area saw one of the most significant snowfalls so far this winter.

Just 1 to 3 inches of wet snow were expected Wednesday morning. More light snow, but with heavier snow showers at times, should continue on and off through at least Friday, said meteorologist Zachary Yack with the National Weather Service’s Romeoville office.

Accumulations from the ongoing snow shouldn’t amount to much more than a few tenths of an inch, he said. However, the weather service is looking at the potential for a heavier snow event Saturday night into Sunday. Where, when and how much snow could come from that weather system still is unknown, Yack said.

Area police departments said they had plenty to keep officers busy as people headed to work in the snow Wednesday morning.

Through about 8:10 a.m., McHenry police had seven crashes reported. Of those, Spohn said, three were on Route 120.

“All of these were really spread out. There are not even two in close together” on the state highway, he said.

One of the crashes involved an injury, and a person was taken to an area hospital, McHenry Township Fire Protection District Fire Chief Rudy Horist said. One of the department’s ambulances also was called to help the Lake Zurich Fire Department at 5:24 a.m. for a crash there, he said.

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office had a busier morning, department spokeswoman Emily Matusek said.

A total of 30 incidents – 20 crashes and 10 assists to motorists – were reported Wednesday, she said.

Just two crashes included minor injuries, she said, noting that the crashes weren’t concentrated in any particular area.

Both Crystal Lake and Woodstock had salt trucks out by about 5 a.m.

The snow started coming down at about 4:45 a.m., Crystal Lake Public Works Director Michael Magnuson said. His first trucks were out salting roads at 5 a.m. to get ahead of the storm and the morning commute.

Woodstock Public Works Director Brent Aymond said his crews didn’t “drop blades” and start moving snow until about 8 a.m., when the snow started coming down harder.

Woodstock Police Chief John Lieb said he didn’t have hard numbers, but knew his officers were busy with reported crashes.

“Our officers responded to numerous property damage only-type crashes, along with vehicles that slid off the roadway,” Lieb said.

Lieb and other police officials asked residents to slow down and to leave early for appointments or work with snow forecasted for the next several days.

“Only drive if you have to in bad weather conditions. And again, slow down and keep it slow. If you do slide off the road or have a small accident, call us and we will come assist,” Lieb said.

Spohn, in McHenry, said he left his home near Belvidere early Wednesday, knowing the snow would make a longer commute. In that 40-mile drive, he saw two cars in ditches.

“Don’t rush and end up a victim of being behind schedule,” Spohn said.