Dense Fog Muddles Morning Commute

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

You might say a lot of drivers were feeling their way to work or to school because they obviously couldn't see very well.

Sedgwick County 911 dispatchers told KAKE News that there were 27 non-injury accidents and 12 injury accidents Wednesday morning. That compares to only two or three accidents on a normal morning commute.

"There was nothing I could do," Jonathan Simon said. "I was driving. I was fine. And then all of a sudden I just noticed there was a car stopped."

Seven vehicles, including three tractor trailer semis and four passenger vehicles, suffered damage in a pile-up just east of the K-96/West Street Interchange.

An investigating trooper believes traffic was slowing down because of an accident nearly a mile further east near Meridian. Then one truck trying to stop, jack-knifed and the following traffic came to a stop. Not everyone was able to stop in time.

"I saw that traffic had stopped up in front of me, so I slammed on the brakes and then came to a stop," Bill Byer, who witnessed the pile-up said. "I looked in the mirror again and I saw the white truck was jack-knifing and sliding."

Two drivers were transported by emergency medical services with minor injuries for treatment at local hospitals. Traffic had to detour off the freeway for a couple of hours while the mess was cleaned up.

Troopers say this is an example of driving faster than what the conditions allow. Cars are difficult to see in the fog even with lights on. Add to that wet, slippery pavement and it's a recipe for accidents.
Kansas Highway Patrol troopers warn drivers to slow down and turn their lights on when driving in fog.

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