Death toll rises from harsh winter weather

8:19 PM, Jan 7, 2014   |    comments
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A pedestrian walks through morning snow Jan. 2, 2014, in Albany, N.Y. (AP)
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(USA Today)-- At least 20 deaths have been linked to a series of snowstorms and the blast of Arctic air that has held much of the Midwest and East in its grip since late last week.

Seven people have died in Michigan alone. On Monday, a car slid into a tanker truck, killing one person and critically injuring another. On Saturday, Branden Hewitt, 27, died in a car crash in Huron County and Timothy Nixon, 50, was struck and killed by a car while walking, The Weather Channel said. Three people died shoveling snow, and another person died of unspecified health issues, The Detroit Free Press reported.

Separate collisions in Missouri took the lives of two people, including a 1-year-old boy, according to the State Highway Patrol. Kiber Williams died Monday after the car he was riding in hit a snowplow near St. Joseph. In St. Louis, a motorist was killed after hitting a big rig on Interstate 44.

SEE ALSO: Dangerous deep freeze sweeps east

In Chicago, at least three people died while shoveling snow, according Two victims, ages 48 and 71, each had heart conditions, according to Will County coroner Patrick O'Neil. Another man, age 57, died Saturday of undisclosed causes. An unidentified Chicagoan, found in snow drifts not far from his home, died of exposure.

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Exposure-related deaths also claimed lives in Ohio. A 90-year-old woman was found dead in the snow near her car Monday morning. Police say she had been stuck in the snow and was trying to make her way home. And, in Columbus, Ohio, a man, presumed to be homeless, died of exposure and hypothermia. He was wearing only jeans and a sweatshirt when his body was found.

Exposure to cold weather likely contributed to the deaths of two Alabama women, according to The Weather Channel. One was identified as Sonya Todd, 59.

In Indiana, Marion County chief deputy coroner Alfie Ballew said at least four people have died from weather-related deaths there: a man who keeled over Sunday shoveling snow and a man and two elderly women who fell Monday, according The Weather Channel reported that Christopher Hutchings, 41, died in a car crash.

Emergency rooms in hospitals around the country were overflowing with cases of frostbite and hypothermia and are urging people to stay indoors, the Associated Press reported. Homeless shelters in many cities reported overcrowding, the AP said.


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