January 19, 2011 Edition

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Icy road conditions
surprise motorists

Gretchen Hunt

With the temperature hovering right at the freezing mark, early morning rainfall turned dangerous in parts of Lawrence County on Monday. Lawrence County Sheriff Jody Dotson said patchy ice caused problems for motorists, who were not expecting the roads to be slick.

"Out by Heard's (on Highway 63, near Hoxie) was bad," Dotson said. "We had a two-vehicle wreck followed by a four-car pileup. Then, on the other side of Imboden at Smith curve there were several vehicles that slid off the road."

Dotson said the highway had to be closed in both of those areas to remove cars.

In addition, Sloan-Hendrix School District and the Imboden Area Charter School, both cancelled school after bus drivers encountered icy road conditions.

Sloan-Hendrix Supt. Mitch Walton said by the time the roads began getting bad, between 6:30 and 7 a.m., several buses were already on the road.

"We were able to contact the drivers that were en route before they had gone very far and asked them to turn around and take the students home," Walton said. "We used the SchoolReach telephone message system in order to contact parents and staff and notify them that school had been canceled for the day."

The Charter School, which only has one bus, also encountered problems with road conditions. Only one child had been picked up when the roads began to get bad, and school officials elected to pick up that child and the bus driver and leave the bus on the side of the road until the ice cleared.

"It could have been a lot worse," Dotson said. "The roads got bad when everyone was trying to get to school and work. This time of year drivers need to be aware that icy conditions can develop even when they are not expected."

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