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A taste of winter | News, Sports, Jobs

-Photo courtesy of Iowa DOT

An eastbound truck passes the reduced-conflict intersection near Mile Marker 126 on U.S. Highway 20 on Tuesday afternoon.

Central Iowa residents got their first taste of winter weather driving this season on Tuesday.

The area spent much of the day in a winter weather advisory, and locally, about an inch of measurable snow fell throughout the morning and early afternoon.

Despite much of the snowfall happening during morning travel times, there weren’t any major crashes in the area, and only a handful of minor accidents, according to local law enforcement.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the Fort Dodge Police Department reported just three vehicle accidents, all with no injuries, according to Police Lt. Zach Stanley.

Two of the accidents happened on Parker Drive on the western edge of the city, he said.

-Photo courtesy of Iowa DOT

An Iowa DOT snow plow heads west on Highway 18 in Algona on Tuesday morning.

“We really didn’t have any issues here,” Stanley said. “We’re definitely happy with the lack of accidents.”

Around Webster County, there were about four or five vehicles that slid into the ditch on Tuesday, Webster County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Tony Walter said.

“Nothing too major,” he said.

Walter said the accidents were pretty scattered across the county. He did note that while responding to one of the accidents, he observed several vehicles who passed by the scene driving above the speed limit.

“There were those drivers that were probably driving too fast for conditions and even the ones that were failing to slow down for the emergency vehicles on the side of the road,” Walter said.

-Photo courtesy of Iowa State Patrol

A car-vs.-semi collision happened at the interchange of U.S. Highway 20 and U.S. Highway 17 on Tuesday morning. No injuries were reported.

The local Post 7 of the Iowa State Patrol did respond to several incidents on the state highways on Tuesday.

“In our district, we were primarily covering fender-bender crashes,” said Trooper Paul Gardner, public resource officer for Post 7. “There were no injuries reported in any of the crashes that we were responding to.”

Gardner said most of the incidents involved vehicles sliding off the roadway into the ditch.

The State Patrol did respond to a crash with a car and a semi at the junction of U.S. Highway 20 and Iowa Highway 17 in Hamilton County. Despite the car’s front bumper being torn off, the driver was uninjured.

Statewide on Tuesday, the Iowa State Patrol responded to 23 car crashes, with 19 of them reporting no injuries. Gardner said. There was one fatality reported in Mahaska County.

-Messenger photo
by Bill Shea

A deer crosses Williams Drive Tuesday morning as the snow falls in Fort Dodge and the surrounding area, creating slick conditions.

A recent problem ISP troopers have been encountering are excessive speeders on the state highways and interstates. While troopers didn’t see any motorists driving in excess of 100 miles per hour, Gardner said, they did still see a lot of drivers traveling above the speed limit.

“With the amount of traffic I saw this morning, I was actually impressed, comparatively how many calls for service we were assigned to, versus the volume of traffic,” Gardner said. “I think overall, folks did a really good job of keeping safe distances, practicing safe driving habits and maintaining proper speeds.”

Though Tuesday’s snowfall was relatively minor for winter in Iowa, it’s still important for drivers to take those extra precautions, the Iowa State Patrol advises. According to the ISP, nearly 75 percent of winter crashes in Iowa happen in less than two inches of snow.

Usually, when snowfall is expected to accumulate on the roads, public safety agencies urge drivers to avoid travel. However, if travel is absolutely necessary, Gardner said, there are some things drivers should do to be prepared for an emergency.

“Always make sure you have plenty of supplies with you like food, water, plenty of warm clothing in case you’re stranded or if you crash into the ditch,” he said. “And always make sure your cell phone is fully charged, or carry a cell phone charger to be able to call 911 or communicate with others.”

-Photo courtesy of Iowa State Patrol

A car-vs.-semi collision happened at the interchange of U.S. Highway 20 and U.S. Highway 17 on Tuesday morning. No injuries were reported.


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