Winter Storm Quinn Kills 5 in Cross-County Trek to Northeast

Sean Breslin, Ada Carr and Rachel Delia Benaim
Published: March 7, 2018

Major roadways were reopened Wednesday in the Plains as Winter Storm Quinn continued its deadly trek across the United States.

The storm now targeting the Northeast killed at least four people in California and another in North Dakota as it blasted its way from California through the Rockies and into the Plains. 

The North Dakota Highway Patrol said a 35-year-old man died in a collision with a snow plow Tuesday morning along I-29 in Grand Forks County. The driver of the snow plow was not injured in the crash, the report added.

In the Twin Cities, the heavy snow arrived just in time for the Monday evening commute. This led to 260 crashes – 36 with injuries – and an additional 430 spinouts, the Minnesota State Patrol told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Schools across a large swath of the country were closed or delayed as a result of the storm earlier this week.

(MORE: Check the Forecast for Winter Storm Quinn)

Four Deaths Confirmed in California

At least four people were killed in California as Quinn battered parts of the Mountain West over the weekend.

A mother and son died near the Kirkwood Ski Resort after a large chunk of snow fell from the roof of a home near the condo in which they were staying and buried them, the Alpine County Sheriff's Department said.

Olga Perkovic, 50, and her son, 7-year-old Aaron Goodstein, were returning to their condo Sunday after skiing in the Sierra Nevada near the Nevada state line when the block of snow slid off the roof and buried them, the report added. After family members reported the pair missing, a neighbor spotted them in the large pile of snow and they were airlifted to a hospital, where they were pronounced dead.

"It was a freak accident," Undersheriff Spencer Pace told the AP, adding that he doesn't believe there has been a sliding snow death in the county in at least three decades.

(MORE: 4 Dangers of Heavy, Wet Snow)

Blake Smith, 36, of Fresno, California, died Friday while snowboarding at the China Peak Mountain Resort in Lakeshore, California, the Fresno Bee reported. He suffocated after accidentally falling headfirst into a 5-foot snow embankment.

The body of 42-year-old Wenyu Zhang of Rocklin, California, was found Friday, officials with the Placer County Sheriff's Office announced. Zhang was reported missing from Squaw Valley Resort, south of Truckee, California, on Thursday. Crews with the Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue had to suspend their efforts overnight Thursday due to the threat of avalanches and resumed early Friday.

Winds were strong at the time of Zhang's disappearance. A 146-mph gust was recorded at the top of the resort, according to the AP, and the storm dumped three feet of snow in the area.

(MORE: Quinn Expected to Become Another Coastal Storm)

An avalanche at the same ski resort Friday morning injured two, the AP reported. Just hours after his body was recovered, an avalanche hit the Squaw Valley Ski Resort, sweeping away five people. Of the five, two were injured. The other three were able to escape the wreckage without injuries.

The AP reported that Heather Turping had been snowboarding when the avalanche passed just a foot in front of her.

"I took my gloves off and I helped dig him out," Turping told the AP. "When he got uncovered, a ski patroller said, 'You were under for six minutes.'"

The man wasn’t seriously injured and was able to snowboard down the mountain.

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