Numerous accidents, 1 fatal
As many drivers traveled for the holiday, area law enforcement received call after call about vehicle rollovers and accidents, including one fatal head-on collision near Mott Thursday.
The head-on collision, five miles east of Mott, at about 11:30 a.m. left a Bismarck resident dead, according to a North Dakota Highway Patrol press release.
As 28-year-old Delton Dietz of New Leipzig was traveling east on Highway 21 toward New Leipzig, he was following a snowplow.
A 48-year-old unidentified Bismarck resident driving a 2010 Ford Edge was heading west on Highway 21 toward Mott when the snowplow caused a large amount of snow fog resulting in reduced visibility, according to the release.
The unidentified driver crossed the centerline in the snow fog and collided head-on with Dietz, according to the release.
Dietz's vehicle entered the south ditch where it came to rest facing south.
The Ford Edge went to the north side where it came to rest facing south.
The unidentified driver was not wearing a seatbelt and died at the scene, according to the release.
Dietz was wearing a seatbelt and was not injured.
Sgt. Daniel Haugen of the Highway Patrol said as of about 1:30 p.m. Thursday, the HP responded to five rollovers and six vehicles stuck in the median on Interstate 94.
"Now we have deep snow and all the vehicles so far have slid into the median where the snow is deeper and the deep snow catches the tires causing the vehicle to turn over," Haugen said.
Despite service trucks sanding roads throughout the day, accidents still abounded.
"We're just asking the public to not necessarily drive the speed limit, but just drive as fast as the conditions allow and to not use their cruise control," Haugen said. "We just need people to take their time, not be in any hurries and just drive slower than the posted speed limit."
The NDHP provided details on a number of accidents Thursday, including:
- 6:45 a.m., Interstate 94 near mile marker 84, Richardton resident Wayne Sorlie was heading west in a pickup when he lost control, rolled and came to a rest in the median.
While there were no injuries, Sorlie was transported to St. Joseph's Hospital and Health Center in Dickinson for a checkup.
- 8:10 a.m., I-94 at mile marker 84, Staten Island, N.Y. resident Omar Galeno was driving west in a pickup when he lost control on the slippery road. Galeno's vehicle rolled and came to rest in the median. He was not injured.
- 9:30 a.m., I-94 at mile marker 64, an unidentified Kansas resident was driving west in a SUV when he or she lost control, rolled and came to a rest in the median. They were not injured.
- 9:45 a.m., I-94 at mile marker 52, Belfield resident Loren Baranko was traveling east in a SUV when he lost control on the slippery road, rolled and came to rest in the median. Baranko was not injured.
- 10:31 a.m., I-94 at mile marker 86, Shoreview, Minn. resident Kyle Greene was traveling west in a SUV when he lost control and the vehicle rolled and came to rest in the median. Two adults and two children were in the vehicle. One adult was ejected and transported to St. Joseph's for treatment.
- About 1:45 p.m., I-94 at mile marker 86, one mile east of Richardton, Williston and Buffalo, Wyo. resident James Causey was traveling west in a pickup when he lost control on the icy road and rolled. The vehicle came to a rest on the Interstate.
Causey was thrown from the vehicle and two adults and one child were transported to St. Joseph's for medical treatment.
The Stark County Sheriff's Department assisted the NDHP and Sheriff Clarence Tuhy said his department responded to three or four accidents.
"People just have to slow down," Tuhy said. "Why not take an extra few minutes and make it safe instead of speed it up and end up ..."
The Interstate was not the only place experiencing a plethora of accidents.
Sgt. Dave Wilkie of the Dickinson Police Department, said the department was seeing "accidents up the wazoola."
As of about 3 p.m. Thursday, the DPD responded to six, he said.
"The guys are taking accident after accident after accident," Wilkie said, adding many occurred Wednesday, as well.
The most accident-prone times have been between 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., noon to 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., Wilkie said.
"As long as it stays cold like this and the roads are icy it's going to continue like that until people slow down," Wilkie said. "What most people don't get and sometimes until it's too late is that the way you drive one day cannot be the way that you drive the next day if the conditions are not exactly the same."