12-Year-Old Girl Dies After Snow Fort Collapses

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
January 21, 2019US News
12-Year-Old Girl Dies After Snow Fort Collapses

A 12-year-old Illinois girl died on Jan. 20 after a snow fort she was making collapsed on her.

The girl, identified as Esther Jung of Elk Grove Village, was at church on Sunday when she and a 9-year-old girl started digging a fort in a snowbank.

Their parents were all inside of Rothem Church in Arlington Heights.

The adults found the fort collapsed about an hour later and called 911.

Both girls were alive when rescued but Jung was in cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at a hospital. The 9-year-old girl was treated for hypothermia and was expected to survive.

Arlington Heights Police Sgt. Charles Buczynski said that no foul play was suspected and that an autopsy was scheduled for Monday.

“This appears to be a tragic accident,” the department said in a statement obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Jung’s father told WLS that Esther was the youngest of three children and that she was a smart, strong, beautiful girl who dreamed of becoming a veterinarian.

He said that he is the pastor of the church.

Three Men Die After Removing Snow

The snowstorm also left others dead, including two Wisconsin men who perished shortly after shoveling and removing snow.

The men were 59 and 91 years old respectively.

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner told Fox 6 that autopsies have been scheduled for both men.

The younger man was shoveling snow at his house in the city on Sunday and was found dead inside his home a short time later.

The older man was using a snowblower outside his house in West Allis on Saturday and was found dead inside his house on Sunday.

Also dead after shoveling snow was Mike Westbrook, transportation director for Portage Public Schools in Michigan. He died from a heart attack, officials said.

Other Deaths

A number of other deaths were reported from the winter storm that dumped up to 2 feet of snow in areas across the United States in addition to ice and power outages.

A falling tree killed a utility subcontractor on Sunday in Middletown, Connecticut, reported WVIT. The man was killed while repairing a line; the tree fell on top of him and caused fatal injuries.

“Last night a lineman was fatally injured during the storm. This is a reminder of the danger these men and women face on our behalf. While many are still out there working today, please join me in acknowledging them and sending our thoughts to this person’s family,” Gov. Ned Lamont said in a statement.

On Saturday, a snow plow driver in Kansas was killed after his vehicle rolled over. The Kansas Department of Transportation confirmed the death (pdf) on Jan. 19.

“My heart is breaking for the family of this dedicated KDOT employee,” said Gov. Laura Kelly in a statement. “Our KDOT personnel work very hard, at all hours, in dangerous conditions to make our roads safer for their fellow Kansas citizens. My thoughts are with his family, friends, and the entire KDOT family at this devastating time.”

In Missouri, two men died from car crashes.

The state Highway Patrol said that Michael Fox, 48, died when his off-road vehicle ran off the road and rolled over south of Sunrise Beach.

And James Haase, 30, died when he lost control of his Honda Accord near Kimberling City, and it slid into the path of an oncoming pickup truck that struck the Honda.

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