School children in Carthage and surrounding areas got a snow day and some businesses closed as the biggest winter storm in two years made travel treacherous with sleet and ice.
A Carthage woman was injured in a crash Thursday morning on Interstate 44 near Sarcoxie that the Missouri State Highway Patrol said was related to the hazardous weather.
Christine E. Yunek, 38, Carthage, was taken to Freeman West Hospital in Joplin after the two-vehicle crash that happened at 6:30 a.m. Thursday on I-44 one mile west of Sarcoxie.
The patrol, in its online crash report, said Yunek’s car left the road, hit a bridge, then slid back on the road and was struck by a tractor-trailer, driven by Tatarino Capetillo, Weslaco, Tex.
Missouri State Highway Patrol Spokesman Mike Watson said troopers responded to a couple dozen incidents where vehicles slid off the road, and about five or six accidents that required reports in Jasper and Newton County Thursday morning and afternoon.
“Traffic seemed a little bit lighter this morning than on a normal work day commute,” Watson said. “People seemed to be slowing down out there today.”
By mid-afternoon, Missouri Department of Transportation road crews had cleared the slush off the interstates and Missouri 171 as well as some of the other routes, but the roads remained wet and the temperature was forecast to fall below freezing overnight, making for a potentially hazardous situation.
“Even though the major routes are just wet, people should not get complacent,” Watson said. “Some of the secondary routes are still slushy and we could get refreezing, especially on some of the exposed areas and bridges and overpasses.
“People need to make sure they buckle up because you can’t protect yourself against the other driver.”
Carthage firefighters responded as mutual aid to the accident on Interstate 44, but Jody Roughton, with the fire department, said things were fairly slow.
Carthage Police Detective Augie Sanchez said police officers in Carthage responded to a non-injury accident at Central and Blanche Street, and responded to a few vehicles that got stuck blocking roadways, but there were no major incidents related to the storm in Carthage.
Chuck Bryant, with Carthage Water and Electric Plant, said the electrical wires and infrastructure in Carthage withstood the ice without damage.
“We had no issues at all,” Bryant said. “We dodged a bullet on this one. We’re really happy that we didn’t have the issues that could have happened and did happen in other areas. We do spend a lot of time on our tree-trimming policy and I think it paid off.”
The National Weather Service in Springfield said the storm tapered off overnight, and the sun will come out on Friday, but temperatures will remain cold, struggling to reach the freezing mark.
Page 2 of 2 - The thaw should begin on Saturday with a high temperature of 37, then the high reaches the 50s on Sunday.