Commuters handle snowy conditions

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 10:17 AM

Loretta Park

Tuesday morning’s commute saw one serious accident in Box Elder County, a jackknifed semitrailer in Davis County that shut down lanes and an accident at the mouth of Weber Canyon that closed it for about an hour.

Utah Highway Patrol Cpl. Todd Johnson said the Box Elder accident happened at 8:38 a.m. Tuesday on State Road 30 at Milepost 94 just north of Bear River.

Johnson said a Chevrolet Cobalt driven by Camille Trimble, 20 and of Tremonton, was going west on the snow packed roads and spun around into the path of a Chevrolet Uplander, going east.

The Uplander driven by Katie Winkler, 28, also of Tremonton, hit the driver’s door of Trimble’s car. Trimble suffered severe head injuries and had to be extricated from the car. Winkler had leg injuries. Both women were transported to a local hospital, Johnson said.

In Davis County a semitrailer going north on Interstate 15 slid and jackknifed near Layton Hills Mall shutting down lanes at about 11 a.m. for about 30 minutes. Emergency crews helped the driver get the semitrailer straightened out so he could proceed, Johnson said.

At 10:18 a.m. a semitrailer and a passenger truck were involved in an accident on Interstate 84 at the mouth of Weber Canyon, he said. There were no injuries, but the lanes were closed for about an hour until emergency crews could remove the vehicles.

Dispatchers in Weber and Davis counties said, on the whole, drivers appeared to be getting the idea that slick conditions are the norm for early morning commutes, although things got dicier as the day progressed.

Johnson said he did not have totals as of 1 p.m. because the dispatch centers were “extremely busy” dealing with calls.

Davis County dispatchers reported 40 slide-offs and accidents from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. andWeber County was “swamped,” Johnson said.

Nanette Hosenfeld, metrologist with the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City, said five to six inches of snow fell in areas between Bountiful and Ogden overnight, while Liberty got 24 inches.

And commuters can expect more snow to come just in time for Wednesday morning’s commute, Hosenfeld said.

A power outage impacted more than 4,000 customers in Eden, Huntsville and Liberty from 6:09 a.m. to 8:09 a.m., said Margaret Oler, spokeswoman for Rocky Mountain Power.

Nate Taggart, spokesman for Weber School District, said the power outage also occurred at Snowcrest Junior High and Valley Elementary, but both schools were open Tuesday. Power was restored at both schools by 9 a.m.

Snow plows have been making the rounds at the 120 locations owned by the Davis School District, said Christopher Williams, spokesman for the district.

Williams said the district has 17 plows. One shift begins at 10 p.m. and plows all night, with another shift coming on later in the morning.

Also the district has gone through 400 tons of a salt/sand mixture this winter, Williams said. In the past few years when the winter has been milder, the district has used only 100 tons of the salt/sand mixture.

“We’ve got an order for another 100 tons,” Williams said.

Williams said the district uses between 50 tons to 100 tons of the salt/sand mixture for each storm this season. The salt/sand mixture costs $22.14 a ton, but “that gets costly when you’re using 100 tons a storm,” he said.

Parents also can check in the early morning hours several sites to find out about school closures, he said.

“We do post on Facebook and Twitter and on our website, if you, as a parent, want to keep your child home because you think conditions are unsafe, you can, but the child has to make up any missed school work,” Williams said.

Principals and teachers are being asked to be “kind and understanding” to students whoshow up late, Williams said.

“We want our students to arrive there as safely as possible,” Williams said.

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