> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
Roads quickly turned icy in about two hours in parts of Clark and Floyd counties on Thursday, resulting in one fatality near Greenville.
Early morning rainfall froze as temperatures dropped around noon, which caused several accidents in Floyd County.
Within minutes of each other, three wrecks on U.S. 150 were caused by icy conditions just before 11:30 a.m.
A fatal accident near the Harrison County line outside of Greenville on U.S. 150 killed one woman and injured another.
Floyd County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Jason Jones said a white Ford Expedition lost control at the top of a hill while traveling westbound on the highway. A black Toyota Corolla in the opposite lane struck the Expedition in the rear passenger side as it crossed over.
Greenville firefighters extricated the passenger of the Corolla, a woman in her 80s from Paoli, who was transported to University of Louisville Hospital. Jones said emergency medical technicians reported she had a broken hip and some other injuries, but nothing deemed life-threatening.
He said after she was taken to U of L Hospital, she wasn’t immediately taken into surgery. The Jefferson County coroner called him later, reporting that after complications set in, she was taken into the operating room and died during surgery.
The driver of the Expedition was transported to Floyd Memorial Hospital and Health Services.
Jones said the drivers of both vehicles were exercising caution on the highway, but the roads iced over somewhat unexpectedly.
“[We didn’t expect ice], not this fast, but the temperature dropped almost 10 degrees in two hours,” Jones said. “The only spots we’re seeing ice is on the top of these hills where they’re getting a lot of wind.”
But as Greenville Fire responded to that accident, they witnessed another driver slide off the same road near Ind. 335.
Floyd County Officer Rodney Clark said similar conditions led to the Ford F-150 sliding off the road.
“It basically turned into a sheet of ice right there at [Ind.] 335,” Clark said.
He said the driver refused medical treatment at the scene, but intended to go to a hospital on his own. He said the driver had lacerations on his forehead.
Another, less serious, slide-off occurred shortly after that accident, in which Jones said no injuries were reported.
Harry Maginity, spokesman for the Seymour district of the Indiana Department of Transportation, said road crews had worked in that area since 2 a.m. with salt and reported mostly dry conditions on the road.
But he said a shift change at the time of those accidents may have contributed to them, especially since the temperature dropped so suddenly and cold winds also came through the area.
“It takes about an hour and a half to run a snow route, so this probably took the drivers a little longer to get back,” Maginity said. “The surface temperatures of the road on [U.S.] 150 have been about 33 or 35, so I can see that ice formed in between patrols.”
He said as long as the temperatures remain above 20 degrees, they’ll continue treating state roads with salt.
He said road conditions farther north — near Bloomington and Columbus — were much worse than Clark and Floyd counties, but drivers need to stay aware of potential spots of ice.
“It’s just winter with snow and some ice,” Maginity said. “It’s not as bad as it could be and it’s not nearly as bad as it is up north, but people still have to drive with some sanity. There’s not much you can do about ice.”
Maj. Jeff Topping with the Floyd County Sheriff’s department said roads could continue to become treacherous as more winter weather heads into the area, especially this weekend.
“With the falling temperatures, people need to be aware of the black ice,” Topping said. “Anywhere there’s standing water it could turn to ice quick, so they need to exercise caution.”