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Crash course

First snowfall keeps police, troopers busy

Posted: Sunday, October 14, 2007

Friday's snowfall gave Kenai Peninsula motorists a crash course in driving in inclement weather. But even as flakes fluttered to the ground and vehicles rolled over or skidded off roads, very few accidents resulted in injuries.

Troopers responded to approximately 10 crashes on the Kenai Peninsula from Girdwood to Homer between at 8:42 a.m. and 8:53 p.m. as a result of Friday's snowstorm. There was one incident of entrapment at Mile 7 of Funny River Road in Soldotna at approximately 10:30 a.m., but the driver was also uninjured.

Beth Ipsen, information officer for the Alaska State Troopers, said most of the accidents were vehicle rollovers or cars sliding into ditches. Only one injury occurred near Girdwood, but Ipsen said the wreck was the result of the motorist being distracted by a dog rather than the road conditions.

Jack Anderson, acting captain for Central Emergency Services, said CES responded to four rollovers, but didn't have to transport any patients to the hospital.

"All the occupants were out of the vehicle and no one required medical attention," he said, reading from the log book.

Responding to rollovers and cars skidding into ditches is common for CES, Anderson said. Reports of car accidents started coming through at approximately 9 a.m. and lasted until 11:30 a.m.

"The first snow of the season always catches people off guard," he said. "(People) forget to slow down a bit on some of the corners. It usually gets them in trouble."

Batallion Chief Greg Coon of the Kenai Fire Department said that even though paramedics didn't respond to any car accidents on Friday, that's pretty common.

"People see the snow and they all get scared," he said. "It'll take a month and people will drive normal."

Anderson said he didn't consider Friday's snowfall a lot of snow even though he estimates that it accumulated more than an inch. While he wasn't out on Funny River Road on Friday, he said there must have been enough snow to create slick pavement and temperatures must have been cold enough to create ice.

"Just take it slow," he said. "Watch the road conditions and watch the temperatures and see if it's getting back below freezing."



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