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First good snow brings dozens of car crashes


Last updated 1/2/2019 at 10:06am

A stretch of the highway to Bridgeport that doesn't get sun in winter was the scene of two crashes caused by icy roads. - Jacob Wagner photo

Be careful driving out there on those snowy days.

In Eastern Washington, on the snowy day after Christmas, state troopers responded to 40 crashes in District 4 and to 43 in District 6. Those included two crashes just northwest of Grand Coulee, where local police had to scramble to get out of the way of an oncoming skidding vehicle.

The Washington State Patrol's District 4 includes Adams, Ferry, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens and Whitman counties. District 6 includes Douglas, Grant, Okanogan, Chelan, Kittitas, and part of Adams counties.

"The story I got from running the data was that it's almost all totally weather dependent," said Trooper Jeff Anderson, the backup public information officer for District 6. "On snow/icy days, collisions are way up; days where weather is mostly stable and dry, collisions go down."

Anderson added that there were 29 collisions on the same date in 2017, and that there were 121 collisions leading up to the 26th in 2018, compared to 234 collisions for the same week in 2017.

Trooper Jeff Sevigney, of District 4, told KREM2 that on a normal day there are about 12 collisions. Sevigney reminded drivers to "slow down and keep a safe following distance in snowy or icy conditions, along with turning the car's headlights on when visibility is less than 1,000 feet."

Grand Coulee police responded to two accidents about three miles east of the city on SR-174 Dec. 26. More accurately, they responded to one of those; the other came right at them.

Officer Dan Holland and Sergeant Gary Moore were investigating the first accident, in which an eastbound car had left the roadway, struck the milepost 18 sign, hit a rock wall, continued 100 yards, and stopped on the shoulder.

The car had a broken front axle, broken front grill, broken windshield on the passenger side, and three flat tires.

The officers stood by while Washington State Patrol was en route to investigate that crash, which was first reported by the Bureau of Reclamation's Plant Protection.

While standing by at the accident scene, officers noticed an out-of-control car coming from the west toward them, skidding across both lanes of the highway. The officers climbed the hillside to get out of its way. The vehicle hit the guard rail, and even hit Moore's patrol car. The car pulled over further down the road and reported the accident. A Douglas County deputy responded to that accident.

There were no mentions of injuries involved in either of the accidents.

Local officers also closed SR-155 briefly that evening to allow the hillside at Grand Coulee Dam to be plowed and sanded after a semi had spun out.


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