accidents

Some law enforcement officials believe an earlier storm woke drivers up to the hazards of weather related driving.

Despite a snowfall measured at about 2 inches that covered area roads and highways Thursday morning, drivers and officials agree that conditions weren’t as bad as expected.

Missouri Highway Patrol Sergeant Jake Angle said he thinks after the ice storm that hit our region a few weeks ago, drivers were more prepared for winter weather.

“I think that last snow event got their attention. People are slowing down, being a lot more careful, so it hasn’t been a big problem so far,” Angle said.

Angle said the dry, light nature of the snow was easier for crews and drivers to handle, compared to icy conditions we had on Dec. 16.

While the storm wasn’t as bad as some expected, it did still cause some accidents.

After an initial wave of moderate snowfall, road conditions across the area began to deteriorate after 8 p.m. Wednesday night. In Gentry County, a 16-year-old motorist suffered moderate injuries when her car slid into a Missouri Department of Transportation snowplow. The accident occurred at 10 p.m. on U.S. Highway 136, about two miles west of Stanberry.

The morning commute was expected to be most impacted during this storm, but for some St. Joseph residents like Jack Frost and Terry Jordan, it didn’t stop them from going about their normal routine.

“Terry and I meet on Thursday at the coffee shop here and we talk about old bands and local musicians and it’s kind of our hobby,” Frost said.

And that’s exactly where they were this Thursday, enjoying coffee and each other’s company at Cafe Pony Espresso. Frost and Jordan said they both traveled a few miles to get there.

“We thought we’d meet today but the weather kind of threw us a curveball, but if you got your car going the wind would blow it off and if you stayed on main drags, pretty darn good,” said Frost. “If this is all the winter we’re gonna get, I think we’re lucky.”

Sgt. Angle said during the winter weather advisory, from 6 p.m. Wednesday to 9 a.m. Thursday, the Missouri Highway Patrol worked nine traffic crashes with only one involving an injury.

St. Joseph Police Captain Jeff Wilson said his department had five accidents on record between midnight Wednesday and around 10 a.m. Thursday morning.

Buchanan County dealt with four slide offs and one injury accident, according to Sarah Hardin, with the sheriff’s department.

Statewide, the Kansas Highway Patrol reported 82 accidents, 18 with injuries and one fatality accident. The fatality was in Crawford County, which is in the southeast portion of Kansas.

The Missouri and Kansas departments of transportation and St. Joseph’s streets department began pre-treating roads and highways before the initial onset of snowfall began around 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Meagan Miller can be reached at meagan.miller@knpn.com. Follow her on Twitter: @NPNowMiller.