Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Ice, snow halt some buses

Biggest problems hit areas of Butler County

By David Eck
and Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer contributors

[IMAGE] Chad Pride, 16, (left) and William Bland, 14, both of Avondale, walk against the wind through Fountain Square to get to their bus after school at Withrow High School Tuesday afternoon.
(Steven M. Herppich photo)
HAMILTON - Waves of snow showers kept Tristate road crews busy Tuesday, and wintry conditions caused dozens of accidents and disrupted school and other activities - mostly in Butler County.

"We've had actually a fair amount of sunshine (Tuesday) afternoon. The sunshine has certainly helped," said Chris Petrocy, spokesman for the Butler County Engineer's Office. "We continue to salt and treat with calcium. As a general rule things have improved."The county's northwestern communities were hindered by slick roads Tuesday morning. The Butler County Sheriff's Office reported as many as 30 vehicle crashes Tuesday morning, mostly in the northwestern portion of the county. None of the accidents was serious and no injuries were reported, dispatchers said.

There were no serious accidents reported in Hamilton, Clermont or Warren counties as of Tuesday evening. There were minor injuries in a crash on Ohio 747 near Crescentville Road in West Chester Tuesday afternoon.

"For the most part, we've been out pretty much on a regular basis since Sunday," Petrocy said. "Today we were (grateful) because the heavier snow and freezing rain that they were predicting never materialzed."Meanwhile, the snowfall was ending Tuesday evening, with clear conditions expected today.

Tuesday's commute was smooth for most Tristate motorists.

"The weather didn't hinder traffic too much (Tuesday) morning at all," said Chris Smith, a supervisor at Artimis. "Most people left with plenty of time to get to work."

There were two accidents on Interstate 74, but that was all that Artimis reported.

"People seem to have anticipated it," Smith said."They were driving a little more sensibly. This morning actually worked out pretty good."

In Butler County, half the county's 10 school districts closed after rural roads in the county's western half began freezing over between 7:45 and 8:45 a.m.Edgewood's boys basketball game at Lebanon was postponed because of travel conditions.

Talawanda, Ross, New Miami, Edgewood and Madison school officials all made decisions to close their doors by 9 a.m.

In the Madison schools, Superintendent Jan Kesselring said the temperature dropped from 32 degrees at 7:45 a.m to 27 degrees at 8:25 a.m.

"Things got bad fast," Kesselring said. "We got a call from the sheriff's office about wrecks and the serious road conditions in the northern part of our district."

In Ross, buses had begun picking up high school students when conditions worsened around 8 a.m.

"I immediately received calls from bus drivers that roads were slick. The sheriff's office was telling our bus drivers to pull over," said Ross Superintendent David McWilliams. "If there was (moisture or slush) on the road it turned to ice. When my buses start sliding, it's not a good thing."

A handful of high school students on the Ross buses were brought home without incident.

Lakota also canceled afternoon preschool and kindergarten classes, among many program or class cancellations across the region..

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