Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Icy roads, sidewalks lead to accidents

St. Luke’s emergency room ‘fairly busy’


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

Ice covered much of the Wood River Valley Monday morning, leaving some picturesque vistas but also dangerous conditions on sidewalks and roads. Photo by Mountain Express

Monday morning was unusually warm in the Wood River Valley, with clear skies and temperatures rising quickly above freezing. But underfoot was a thin layer of rain and melted snow that had frozen in the night, leaving treacherous conditions for pedestrians and drivers.

The Blaine County Sheriff's Office responded to two "slide-off" accidents and a rollover accident south of Bellevue. The accidents took place on a straight stretch of road under blue skies just north of the blinking light at the junction of state Highway 75 and U.S. Highway 20. No injuries were reported.

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Sheriff's Sgt. Ed Fuller said the accidents were due to drivers' swerving to miss other cars that had slowed and pulled over after confronting blowing snow across the frozen highway.

"The accidents were due to icy conditions," Fuller said. "The snow had melted, blown across the highway and frozen there."

Walking around town in Ketchum and Hailey presented unexpected challenges, due to transparent patches of slick ice.

Tanya Keim, spokeswoman for St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center, said Monday morning was "fairly busy" at the emergency room. She said four people were treated for injuries from falls due to slipping.

"These were all first thing in the morning," Keim said. "It slowed down once it started warming up." By midday, with temperatures rising to the upper 40s in Ketchum, most of the icy patches had melted and pedestrians were rewarded with spring-like weather.

Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




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