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Drifting snow, slippery roads snarl traffic

By GENNA NEWMAN
STAFF WRITER
Three people were injured Saturday in weather-related accidents on Interstate 75 in Hancock County, and many other non-injury crashes were reported in the region as motorists slid off slippery roads.
Blowing and drifting snow and icy pavement prompted Hancock, Putnam, Seneca, Allen, Hardin, Henry, Wood and Wyandot counties to declare Level 2 roadway advisories.
Level 2 means “roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow. Only those who feel it is necessary to drive should be out on the roadways. Contact your employer to see if you should report to work.”
The Findlay post of the State Highway Patrol responded to a six-vehicle injury accident at about 9:25 a.m. Saturday in the northbound lanes of I-75, north of Ohio 235 in Hancock County. One motorist was taken to the hospital.
Walter Gordon, 42, of Smyrna, Ga., was driving a 2008 Chrysler Aspen and was stopped in traffic when he was struck in the rear by a 2007 Freightliner tractor-trailer driven by Amos Kadja, 44, of Pickerington, the patrol said. The truck began to jackknife and struck three other vehicles: a Chevrolet Equinox driven by Tamera Henry, 43, of Bluffton; a 2014 Volvo tractor-trailer driven by Yves Lefort, 48, of Saint-Chrysostome, Quebec; and a 2008 Dodge Dakota pickup driven by James Steen, 59, of Findlay, the patrol said.
Steen lost control and slid into a 2014 Chrysler 200 driven by Abdiaziz Awale, 50, of Ontario, Canada. Awale was taken to Blanchard Valley Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, the patrol said.
The crash is under investigation and no citations have been issued.
In the same area at about 10 a.m., the state patrol responded to two other injury accidents. Two people were hurt and were taken to Blanchard Valley Hospital, the patrol said.
The crashes occurred when several tractor-trailers jackknifed and ended up in the median, the patrol said. Other northbound motorists tried to slow and either slid into the median or off the right side of the road.
A straight truck driven by Hao Liu, 56, of Cincinnati, was northbound and slid to the right into a ditch, where it tipped onto its left side. Liu reported an injury to his side and was treated and released at Blanchard Valley, the patrol said.
An International bobtail truck driven by Lydia Kumm of Curwensville, Pa., slid into the median. A 2009 Subaru Outback driven by Kim Broomhall, 56, of Kettering, also slid off the interstate and hit the bobtail truck, the patrol said. Broomhall reported pain in her back and neck, and was treated and released at Blanchard Valley. Kumm was not injured.
The accidents closed the northbound lanes of I-75 for about an hour and a half.
Troopers also were called to assist at a number of non-injury accidents, such as cars sliding off the roadway.
The Seneca County Sheriff’s Office responded to a rollover accident with an injury Saturday afternoon, and the victim was transported to Bellevue Hospital. No further details were available.
Henry, Putnam, Allen and Hancock County sheriff’s offices all reported a busy day dealing with mostly non-injury accidents.
Two inches of snow fell Saturday on Hancock, Allen, Henry, Seneca and Putnam counties, according to measurements taken by state highway garages. Wood County reported an inch and a half, and Wyandot County had an inch. Hardin County had the most snow in the area with 4 inches reported.
The National Weather Service has issued a wind chill advisory until 7 a.m. Sunday.
The weather service said less than a half-inch of snow could fall overnight, and wind speeds were expected to fall to 10-15 mph after midnight. But the overnight low was expected to be minus 1, with wind chills as low as minus 17.
Another 1-3 inches of snow could fall Sunday, the weather service said. The high is expected to be 28 degrees, with a low of 9 degrees and wind chills as low as minus 16. A south wind of 11-18 mph is expected Sunday.
Saturday’s weather caused the cancellation of many area sporting, civic and community events, and delivery of the printed Courier was slowed.
Because of the snowfall, Findlay officials asked that residents try not to park on city streets so that effective snowplowing can occur.
“This snow coupled with the cold means that the plowing will be very difficult,” said Service-Safety Director Paul Schmelzer.

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