By ERIC SCHAADT
Old Man Winter made an encore performance Wednesday with snow, ice and fierce winds.
Few were applauding.
Law enforcement and rescue workers were kept busy responding to wrecks.
Three people were injured Wednesday night in a crash on West Bigelow Avenue, and multiple injuries were reported earlier in a Howard Street crash.
According to the Ohio Department of Transportation, 4.5 inches of snow fell Wednesday on Hancock County, on the heels of rain and freezing rain.
Adding to travel woes were gusting winds.
Three people were hurt in a two-vehicle, weather-related accident on West Bigelow Avenue near Westmoor Road in Liberty Township around 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office reported.
Lauren M. Case, 21, of Findlay, was traveling west in a Ford Explorer and lost control of the sport utility vehicle on the snow and ice, striking an eastbound Kia driven by Colin Kalescky, 23, of Findlay, the sheriff’s office said.
Both drivers and Kalescky’s passenger, Olivia Kalescky, 23, of Findlay, were taken by Hanco Ambulance to Blanchard Valley Hospital.
Liberty Township Fire Department and Lowery’s Towing assisted the sheriff’s office at the scene.
Earlier, four Findlay travelers required hospital attention when a car and a pickup truck collided at 4:24 p.m. Wednesday on Howard Street, just west of the Interstate 75 overpass, according to the Findlay Police Department.
Taken to Blanchard Valley Hospital by Hanco Ambulance were the driver of the car, Jessica Campbell, 26, of Findlay, and two children who were passengers, Melody Bosiako, 7, and Kwabina Bosiako, 6, police said.
Also transported to hospital was Michael McGuire, 51, of Findlay, who was driving the pickup, police said.
According to police, all four suffered non-incapacitating injuries.
Campbell was driving a Chevy Metro west on Howard Street when she lost control on a curve and collided with an eastbound Dodge Ram pickup operated by McGuire, police said. A snowplow on the front of the truck struck the driver’s side of the Chevy.
Campbell was cited for operating a vehicle without reasonable control, according to police.
Hancock County was raised from a level one weather alert to a level two weather advisory at mid-afternoon Wednesday, according to the sheriff’s office.
A weather advisory discourages unnecessary travel.
“The wind’s really blowing,” said sheriff’s Capt. Roger Treece.
Hancock County snowplows were on duty from 6 a.m. Wednesday until 8:30 p.m., according to county officials.
Findlay-based Ohio Department of Transportation crews were clearing state and federal routes until 9 p.m. Wednesday and were expected to return to the roads at 7:30 a.m. today, according to Mark Drerup, the department’s Hancock County maintenance garage manager.
“It’s the wind that’s causing us the most problems,” Drerup said.
“I hope this is the last (storm) of the year,” he said. Drerup said his department has a “decent supply” of road salt on hand, but he said the salt would not do much good in the single-digit temperatures expected overnight.
Paul Schmelzer, service-safety director for the city of Findlay, reported “no real problems” removing snow Wednesday.
Schmelzer said crews would be back on duty at 3 a.m. today to finish clearing residential streets.
More than six inches of snow was reported in Wood, Henry and Putnam counties on Wednesday, according to a state Department of Transportation website.
Other area counties under a level two advisory as of Wednesday night were: Henry, Putnam, Seneca and Wood.
Hardin and Allen counties were under a level one weather alert that warns of treacherous driving conditions.
Area counties reported traffic mishaps, none said to be too serious.
“We’ve had several in the ditch, nothing real major,” said a spokeswoman with the Hardin County Sheriff’s Office.
Cars also were in ditches in Henry County, where roads were said to be icy, a sheriff’s office dispatcher said.
Elsewhere in Ohio, the State Highway Patrol said three people were killed in accidents involving several tractor-trailers that closed the Ohio Turnpike in both directions between Ohio 53 in Fremont and Ohio 4 near Sandusky, the Associated Press reported.
A state trooper was in serious but stable condition after he was pinned between vehicles while investigating one of the accidents at 2:05 p.m. Wednesday.
Accidents occurred in both the westbound and eastbound lanes Wednesday afternoon.
The state patrol also shut down U.S. 24 near the Lucas/Henry County line Wednesday because the roadway was impassable due to wind and snow.
That highway was reopened Wednesday night, the Henry County Sheriff’s Office said.
Some relief from Old Man Winter might arrive soon.
According to the National Weather Service, today’s high is expected to be only 21 degrees, but the mercury should rise to 47 degrees Friday.
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