Missouri Absorbs Brunt of Snow Storm
Posted on January 14th, 2019 by Zane Cagle
Over 800 Snow Related Crashes in Missouri
While the snow predictions were between 2-10 inches; we did, in fact get hit by a snowstorm. There were more than 800 snow-related crashes that injured 57 people and killed four people in Missouri. The timing in which the storm came may have had a great deal to do with the number of crashes. The moisture started mid-afternoon in St. Louis, but it began much sooner in parts of Missouri such as Kansas City and Columbia. Once the snow started falling, it was dense and heavy. Snow accumulated so quickly that afternoon to evening traffic was a nightmare. While it appears that many people heeded the warning to leave work early, the rapid pace of the snow still impacted thousands of drivers. According to The Washington Post, Missouri seems to have absorbed the brunt of the snow storm.
As of 2 p.m. Saturday Afternoon, the Missouri State Highway Patrol had responded to 3918 calls for service, 1790 stranded motorists, 878 crashes, 57 injuries and 4 fatalities. The MSHP sent strong warnings to avoid travel if at all possible.
Fatalities in Missouri
On Friday at approximately 2:15 p.m, a 39 year-old Sikeston, MO woman was a passenger in a Ford Ranger that was struck in the side by a farm equipment vehicle. The pickup then overturned. The Sikeston woman was wearing a seat belt and died at the scene. According to the MSHP, the crash was NOT weather related.
At around 3:05 p.m. a Pontiac Grand Am was westbound on US 24 and lost control on the snow-covered roadway. The vehicle slid sideways into the eastbound lane and impacted with eastbound GMC Envoy. The driver of the Grand A, a 32 year-old Carrollton, MO woman was killed. Both drivers were reported as wearing seat belts. The driver of the Envoy was listed as moderately injured. The crash occurred in Carroll County.
Around 4 p.m., a 53 year-old Urich, MO woman and her 14 year-old female passenger were killed outside Clinton, MO on Highway 7 in Henry County. According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the driver the 2007 Mercury lost control on the snow covered roadway and traveled directly into the path of a semi-truck. Both of the victims were wearing seat belts and pronounced dead at the scene.
Trooper Fatally Injured in Illinois
In a Chicago suburb, an Illinois State Police Trooper was standing outside his patrol car on Saturday evening at the scene of a three-car collision when a driver struck him. The trooper later died at the hospital. According to the Illinois State Police, the death is still under investigation though the snow could have been a factor. In Illinois the state police had responded to more than 200 snow-related crashes as well, including one fatality.
In the Midst of the Storm
Unfortunately, like many others I was driving in the midst of the storm on Friday afternoon. Even as I write articles advising others to stay off the roadways, I know at times, you simply have to travel. I had a work commitment out of town and was hoping to be done and back to St. Louis before the snow began. A trip that generally takes about two hours, took four and a half hours. I cannot even count the number of cars that were either in the ditch or that I saw go into the ditch along Interstate 70. One thing that struck me as ridiculous was the number of drivers who were driving at excessive speeds down the interstate. Several of those drivers zoomed by me on the packed snow and sure enough, they landed up ahead in the ditch. It’s one thing if you Have to drive on the snow, but it is beyond ridiculous to drive fast on snow-covered roads!! Driving slowly is critical—it is the reason it took me five hours to get back to St. Louis as I only drove about 40 mph. In the bad weather Friday, it was not easy to stay out of the ditch, but it seemed silly trying to avoid being hit by others using excessive speeds.
Cleary, many people who were driving safely ended up in the ditch. However, there were dozens of people in the ditch who were clearly driving too fast for conditions. Yes, I witnessed these speeding-to-the-ditch drivers–I’m not speculating. I’m not sure why some drivers throw reason out the window and drive so fast on snow covered roads. I thought it best to Slow It Down and of course, Buckle Up. I got lucky and made it back to St. Louis and I know my four-five hour drive doesn’t compare to those people who were on the road overnight waiting due to road closures and impassibility. Thanks to all of those other drivers who were working hard and being patient on the roadways last Friday night.
Car Crashes Related to Snow
In the many, many ditch scenes I observed last Friday afternoon, speed was definitely a factor. I’m not going to lie—the roads were bad and simply driving slower did not guarantee that one would not be in a crash. In the above mentioned fatalities, I am not implying or insinuating that anyone was driving dangerously or speeding. My comments are strictly for those drivers who were blowing past me on Interstate 70 and should have known better.
However, snow in of itself is not always the only “fault” for a crash which means, snow-covered roads can be a contributing cause for a crash but may not be the only cause. For instance, a driver may contribute to the cause of a crash that occurs on snow-covered roads for failing to keep a proper following distance, speeding or failing to yield at a light. I absolutely know it is difficult to maintain complete control of your vehicle on snow or ice, thus one HAS TO SLOW DOWN. Speeding and weaving in and out of traffic in heavy snow can often be considered reckless driving.
Each crash is unique as the people involved and a crash may have multiple causes.
What is true is that there were some tragic fatalities this last weekend. As well, there were many injuries. We always look at ways to lower those numbers in the future. Each injury and certainly each death is a huge loss. If you were lucky, then you got to stay at home, enjoy the warmth of your home, spend time with family and enjoy some good food. Or maybe, you were fortunate to take your kids sledding. While I was sledding with my kids down Art Hill on Saturday morning, I was not without gratitude that I had made it home safely Friday evening. As I watched the reports of injuries and fatalities on the roadways in Missouri and Illinois, I was very grateful.
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