Deep freeze: Ice-glazed roads cause travel issues Sunday

By Brian Knox | Published Wednesday, January 3, 2018

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STRUCK – A Texas Department of Public Safety vehicle was struck by a motorist Sunday while the officer worked another wreck in the peak time for crashes during a round of winter precipitation. Photo courtesy of DPS

It might not have been a winter wonderland of snow, or even a major ice event, but just enough freezing precipitation fell in Wise County Sunday to make getting around difficult.

Temperatures dropped below freezing Saturday, and as of press time Tuesday, temperatures had still not risen above 32 degrees. Overnight lows Sunday and Monday dropped to between 12 and 15 degrees with wind chills in the single digits.

Only light freezing precipitation fell over parts of the county Sunday morning, but it was enough to create a thin layer of ice on roadways and walkways.

ICY CONDITIONS – A pickup pulling a cattle trailer was damaged when it slid on U.S. 81/287 near Farm Road 407 Sunday morning. The cattle trailer tipped over, leading to cows briefly roaming on the roadway. None were seriously injured. Photo courtesy of DPS

The Wise County Sheriff’s Office reported 60 weather-related wrecks on Sunday. Officers responded to another eight motorist assists and seven road hazards, also all weather-related.

While wrecks were reported on just about every major roadway in the county, the biggest trouble spots appeared to be on U.S. 81/287 in the Rhome area.

The most common problems were single-vehicle rollovers or cars sliding off the roadway.

A couple of unrelated wrecks on U.S. 81/287 near Farm Road 407 caused traffic issues. A trailer full of cattle being hauled by a pickup turned over, causing the livestock to wander onto the roadway before they could be rounded up and placed in another trailer. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, all the cows survived with only one bloody nose. No one in the pickup was injured.

An 18-wheeler later jackknifed on the same roadway, causing traffic to be blocked until that wreck could be cleared.

At times, even officers and other first responders on the scene of accidents became wreck victims themselves. Two DPS troopers who were seated in their vehicles while working wrecks were also hit by passing motorists. Both officers were treated and released from Wise Health System in Decatur.

In Decatur, a vehicle struck the back end of a Decatur Fire Department brush truck on the scene of a wreck on U.S. 81/287. The driver of the vehicle was injured, but the firefighters were not.

In addition to the major wrecks, more than 35 minor wrecks were reported on Texas 114 between Rhome and the Wise/Denton County line Sunday, according to DPS.

The forecast for the rest of the week looks promising. Wednesday’s high was expected to reach 43 degrees as temperatures begin to return to more average levels. No rain chances were included in the National Weather Service’s forecast until a slight chance of rain Saturday night into Sunday. Temperatures at that time are expected to be above freezing with a high temperature near 60 degrees on Sunday.

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