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Icy weekend roads stun drivers

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By Lisa King

Staff photo by Sharon Warner

This accident happened on I-64 on Saturday during a period of bad weather that afternoon. The driver was injured and was taken to the hospital.

Icy weekend roads stun drivers

By Lisa King/Sentinel-News staff writer

Last Saturday afternoon's brief but bitter ice-and-snow storm caused a rash of automobile accidents, both around the county and in the city, police say.

“Between the hours of one and three o'clock, we had from 16 to 20 accidents,” said Shelby County Sheriff's Detective Jason Rice. “Louisville had about 200 accidents during that same time period.”

Rice said one particularly bad accident happened on I-64 near Waddy involved a single car driven by a woman from St. Louis.

The woman, Shaina B. Peterson, 21, was driving westbound on the interstate in a 2004 Dodge Neon at about 1 p.m. when she went into a skid on an icy bridge, according to the police report.

When her car started sliding, she overcorrected and lost control of the Neon. When she hit the embankment, the car overturned and flipped over on its top.

Peterson was transported to Jewish Hospital Shelbyville.

Another car, driven by Karen Sams of Shelbyville, slid into the guard rail on I 64 at about 6 p.m.

Still another accident, which happened on Midland Trail, was caused by  a combination of weather and  impaired driving.

In that case, a car that had stopped at a red light was rear-ended by another car whose driver was arrested for DUI.

Simpsonville also had its share of accidents.

Simpsonville Fire Chief Walter Jones said fender benders were the rule of thumb that day.

“We had about six accidents, three in town, three on the interstate and one down at the county line,” he said. “People were sliding into each other and sliding on bridges, which freeze faster than roads because the cold air gets up under them. The road conditions just changed so fast, they caught people by surprise.”

Rice said one thing that contributed to the large number of accidents was not something unique to Shelby County.

“The problem is ice,” he said. “A lot of times you can't see it, and when you change lanes and lose traction, especially going really fast like on the interstate, then, that's it.”

Carl Henry, supervisor at the Shelby County Road Department said that he and his crew did not salt county roads Saturday because they were never called upon to do so.

“We monitored the radio all night and day, and we were never called out,” he said.

Henry said that deputies will call the road department if they see problem areas that need attention, but the majority of Saturday's accidents occurred on state roads, including the interstate.

“State crews are responsible for salting those,” he said.

Henry said the problem that drivers faced on Saturday could have been surmounted simply by reducing their speed.

“Higher speeds always get people in trouble,” he said. “I saw some people Saturday going around 20 miles an hour, being real careful, and I saw others going down the road at 50. Those are the kind that end up down the road upside down.”

Henry added that salt crews are ready to go whenever they are called out.

“We have 1,000 tons of salt in,  and we're already making brine,” he said. “We're ready to go—to do whatever needs to be done.”