Big snowstorm wreaks havoc
Wisconsin has recorded its first two deaths from the snowstorm that started hitting the Badger State late the night of Dec. 18.
Rock County sheriff's deputies said 41-year-old Jaime Paiz-Gutierrez and 45-year-old Guadalupe Ortiz, both of Footville, slid on an icy Highway 11 around 9:30 p.m. and collided with an oncoming semi truck. Both died at the scene.
The truck driver was taken to a Janesville hospital with minor injuries. The crash happened near Footville, which is about 10 miles west of Janesville. And it's not too far from Edgerton, which reported sleet as well as more than five inches of snow in four-five hours.
Close to 25,000 electric customers in Wisconsin were without power as a result of the snowstorm and its strong winds. About half the customers are in the Milwaukee area, with many others in Dane, Fond du Lac and Green counties. The Wisconsin Public Service utility said over 1,500 of its customers remained without electricity, mainly in Door County and the Green Bay and Chilton areas.
The most snow fell in Madison, which recorded 20 inches. A corridor from Platteville through Portage and into northeast Wisconsin picked up 14-to-16 inches. Northfield reported 12 inches and Osseo and Mount Horeb have just over 11. Sinsinawa in Grant County had 10 inches.
Governor Scott Walker had authorized a snow-emergency procedure before the storm, but the National Guard said people did a good job protecting themselves. The soldiers were called to rescue stranded drivers but as of the night of Dec. 20, had not received distress calls. About 100 troops were standing by at state armories, which also acted as storm shelters.
With employees struggling to deal with the major snowstorm, court decisions were delayed on the state's domestic partner registry is constitutional, on whether wolf hunters can use dogs and other criminal court decisions.