A semi truck closed West bound I-70 near US 68 interchange after the driver lost control and ran off the road causing another truck to run into the back of its trailer Friday morning. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Blast of winter: ‘It’s been a wild year so far’

Another blast of winter weather caused several accidents on Clark County roadways Friday.

One of the first wrecks was reported around 8:15 a.m. when a semi truck jackknifed on I-70 westbound near U.S. 68.

The view from an ODOT camera captured a lengthy traffic back up immediately after while crews tried to remove the truck from the highway.

Two other accidents on I-70 west caused plenty of other problems for drivers. All westbound lanes of I-70 were blocked at one point due to a crash involving two semis and a van.

The driver of the van suffered minor injuries.

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Ohio State Highway Patrol Springfield Post Commander Lt. Brian Aller said troopers had been busy responding to several crashes throughout the morning and afternoon.

“Most of the causes of these crashes are not paying attention, taking the roads too fast, overestimating the ability of the car (or) overestimating the ability of themselves to drive on these roads,” he said. “Wake up a little early when you’re going to work, give time to clean up your car, get it warmed up if need be and give time to get to work.”

Rural roads weren’t immune from the rash of wrecks, either.

A head-on crash between a plow truck and an SUV was reported near the intersection of State Route 72 and Old Clifton Road just after 9 a.m.

Hustead Fire Assistant Chief Matt Hirtzinger said up front, it looked like messy conditions on the road were to blame.

He said the driver of the SUV and the plow driver were uninjured, but a woman riding in the SUV was taken to the hospital with minor cuts on her face.

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The Clark County Engineer’s Office said it was a good thing the accident wasn’t any worse than it was.

“You don’t realize how big these plow trucks are against a normal size vehicle. The normal size vehicle will lose every time,” Clark County Engineer Jonathan Burr said.

Crews have worked throughout the week to make the roadway as safe as possible, Burr said Friday.

“Guys have been working 12 hours shifts,” he said. “These temperatures have not been good at all for melting. Even coming into (Friday) temperatures were supposed to warm up to the 30s but it stayed in the low 20s and that is a big difference because snow doesn’t melt as well. It stayed at about 10 degrees overnight.”

Crews pre-salted the roads Thursday night into Friday morning in preparation for the snowfall Friday morning, Burr said, but with temperatures being so low the salt didn’t have the melting power it sometimes does.

“With the subzero weather, we’ve been having a time of it,” Burr said.

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Burr said he had all 20 of his plow trucks on the road shoveling snow Friday morning. One crew was forced to go home at noon while the other crew started at 7 a.m. He said he expects a crew to be working through Saturday morning.

One positive about the week’s weather was the lack of “blowing”, meaning when crews finish plowing a road it has typically stayed plow.

“It’s been a wild year so far,” Burr said. “It’s winter time in Ohio. We will have crews Friday night and Saturday morning. It does seem to be melting now. We can melt some stuff at 18 degrees, but a little concern about refreezing overnight before the temperatures go back up.”

Burr said motorist should be cautious while driving this weekend, but it is possible that some roads won’t be plowed.

“Slow down, you start thinking the road is clear, and some are so some people think you can dive normal speed,” he said. “But around the curve, you are back on snow or ice and it’s too late. Just because of one stretch is cleared doesn’t mean everywhere is.”

Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Dontae Jones said the warm up is on the way. Highs on Saturday are expected to hit the 40s, and will continue to rise into the 50s for the beginning of next week.

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