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November 27, 2013

First snowfall throws drivers a curve ball

Nearly 20 accidents reported in Miami Co. after snow turns to ice.

PERU — A light dusting of snow in Miami County that turned into ice late Monday night created treacherous driving conditions and contributed to nearly 20 vehicle crashes.

Miami County Sheriff Tim Miller said parts of the county received trace amounts of snow before 10 p.m. Monday, which melted and then froze into black ice.

Between 10 p.m. Monday and 9 a.m. Tuesday, he said, deputies responded to nine slide offs and nine crashes in the area between Ind. 218 near Grissom Air Reserve Base and Business U.S. 31 near Peru.

The majority of those incidents happened before 1 a.m.

“We got slammed for a while,” Miller said. “The problem was it was an isolated area. You had fairly normal travel conditions, then you got into an area of ice and people just weren’t expecting it.”

Three people were injured in the crashes, but Miller said none of the injuries were life threatening.

One car slid off the road and rolled down a steep embankment, he said, but the driver was conscious after the incident.

Officials with the National Weather Service said Miami County was on the fringe of a snow event that moved through northern Indiana. Parts of the state near Michigan received up to half an inch of snow.

Meteorologist Lonnie Fisher said Miami County received less than a tenth of an inch of snow, but that was enough to create hazardous driving conditions after it melted and froze into ice.

“It was just a dusting of snow, but it had drivers sliding all over the place,” he said.

With the county’s first snowfall causing so much mayhem, Miller said drivers should be more alert on the road as wintery weather becomes more frequent.

“Slow your speed, and give yourself more time to get to where you need to go,” he said. “Be careful. Take caution.”

Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, or at carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com.

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