KANSAS CITY – A snowplow struck and killed two pedestrians in Kansas before sunrise Friday after a winter storm coated parts of the Midwest with snow.
The collision involving a Riley County plow truck happened shortly after 5 a.m., after the National Weather Service issued winter weather advisories across parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin and a large swath of Missouri.
Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Ben Gardner said the victims, who were in their late teens or early 20s, appear to have been crossing a road with a 55 mph speed limit when they were struck north of the Kansas State University campus and near Tuttle Creek State Park. There are several mobile home parks in the area.
Gardner said the driver, who tried to avoid hitting the victims, wasn't plowing or salting at the time and was driving with the plow's blade raised. He said he didn't know whether it was snowing but added that road conditions and speed didn't appear to be a factor.
The victims' names weren't immediately released, pending notification of relatives. Gardner said he didn't know if they were university students.
Marvin Rodriguez, chairman of the Riley County Commission, described the accident as a "tremendous tragedy."
"Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to all involved in the accident," he said in a news release.
In neighboring Missouri, roads in much of the north of the state are covered in snow. The Missouri Department of Transportation urged drivers in a news release to "remain vigilant."
The University of Missouri's flagship campus in Columbia and Lincoln University in Jefferson City announced a late start and then called off classes entirely.
Numerous school districts canceled classes, including several in the Kansas City area.