LITTLE ROCK, ARK. The third winter storm of the week coated much of the South with ice Wednesday, contributing to the deaths of 11 motorists, three immigrants crossing the brush of south Texas and a woman who froze to death in her home in Oklahoma.
The huge storm, which stretched from Texas into the Northeast, left an inch-thick layer of ice on top of snow in many places, including Arkansas. It then plowed into mid-Atlantic states, still recovering from the Presidents Day weekend blizzard.
"Where's spring?" asked Katie Cunniffe, 32, a social worker from Plainsboro, N.J.
The storm closed schools in the Washington, D.C., area. Maryland state police said traffic slowed to a crawl, but the latest storm was easier to deal with.
"After the 28-inch record snowfall last week, I think we can handle 2 to 3 inches," spokesman Thornnie Rouse said.
Since the snow and sleet started falling Sunday, six motorists have been killed in Texas and five in Arkansas.
About 20 miles south of Little Rock, a state legislator driving toward home from the Capitol hit an icy patch Tuesday on Interstate 540 and crashed into a stranded driver and two passersby who had stopped to help. All three were killed.
State police said no charges were expected against Rep. Johnnie Bolin, who suffered bruises to his chest when his air bag opened.
"I want to extend my deepest sympathies to the families of the victims," Bolin said. "They're in our prayers as a result of a very horrifying experience."
Border Patrol agents apprehended five immigrants Tuesday morning who told them they were desperately seeking aid for a friend who had become sick in the brush. Agents found the man dead of exposure. Fifteen minutes later, agents found two more bodies nearby.
Highways in the Dallas-Fort Worth area were shut down early Wednesday because jackknifed tractor-trailer rigs blocked all lanes; hundreds of motorists were left stranded.
At the cities' airport, airlines canceled more than three dozen flights because of freezing drizzle.
Police in Enid, Okla., attributed the death of an 84-year-old woman to hypothermia. Her body was found in her home Monday night. The temperature was 9 degrees outside and 21 degrees in the house.
Hundreds of school districts closed for a second day across Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas, while classes were also called off Wednesday in parts of Alabama, the District of Columbia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi and Tennessee.