Blast of winter slams into Mitchell areaMore than 4 inches of wet snow cause numerous accidents across the region Monday.
By: Staff reports, The Daily Republic
A winter storm dumped more than 4 inches of snow on the Mitchell area on Monday, the first significant snowfall in the area in a month.
The slippery conditions wreaked havoc on drivers in the area, with police and tow trucks responding to numerous vehicles in ditches as well as several more serious accidents. No serious injuries were reported.
The National Weather Service in Sioux Falls reported approximately 4.2 inches of snow accumulation in the Mitchell area by about 4 p.m. Monday, and forecast less than half an inch more would fall through Monday night.
“It will melt fairly quickly, but it will be around for a few days,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Jansen. “Overall, it wasn’t that big of a storm.”
Jansen said the storm on Monday was a large area of rain and snow that spread northeast across the state, with the majority of the snowfall occurring west of Interstate 29.
The heavy, slushy snow made for poor traction and a difficult afternoon in Davison and Hanson counties.
“Between us and the troopers there were probably more than 20 vehicles in the ditches, from here to McCook County,” Davison County Chief Deputy Steve Brink said, “but we didn’t have any injuries.”
Brink said in south Davison County, a pickup pulling a flatbed trailer with a cherry-picker went into the ditch when the truck was unable to get traction on a hill. The truck and trailer slid backwards into the ditch and the cherry-picker lift was damaged, Brink said.
The Mitchell Police Division responded to five fender benders in Mitchell on Monday, all caused by the winter weather in the area, police said.
South Dakota Highway Patrol responded to a one-vehicle rollover accident on Interstate 90 near mile marker 310 on Monday morning, just east of Plankinton.
The driver of the vehicle, Jeffery McCoy, 29, of Rapid City, was driving westbound Monday morning when he lost control and swerved into the ditch, causing the vehicle to roll onto its roof.
McCoy and his two passengers, all wearing seat belts, were uninjured in the crash and were able to exit the vehicle safely after it rolled.
Another one-vehicle crash occurred Monday afternoon in Mitchell when a 1993 Ford Explorer driven by 17-year-old Joshua Schmidt collided with the side of a bridge on North Foster Street, near the intersection with Shanard Road.
Schmidt was not injured in the crash, but the vehicle was towed away due to a gash in the front passenger-side tire.
No citations were issued in either incident.
Hanson County Deputy Casey Tegethoff said his department also responded to several cars in the ditch off I-90.
The only ambulance transport was for a minor injury when a car slid off Highway 38 just east of 418th Avenue around 2:30 p.m.
The Honda Civic, driven by Christopher Bintliff, 31, of Spencer, had pulled over onto the road shoulder to let a semi pass, Tegethoff said.
“The wheels got caught and he was sucked into the ditch.”
The Civic went nose-first into a culvert.
Bintliff received a minor head cut, but refused treatment. His passenger, Tiara Vermillion, 31, of Mitchell, fell into the culvert and hurt her back while trying to climb out of the Honda. She also complained of breathing problems, he said, and was taken to Avera Queen of Peace for treatment.
Hutchinson County Sheriff Jim Zeeb said a 2007 Ford F350 pickup owned by Paul DeGroot, of Tripp, was likely totaled when the stock trailer the truck was towing jackknifed and smashed into the pickup. Both went into the ditch, about 4.5 miles west of Parkston on Highway 44.
The accident was chalked up to road conditions and no citations were issued.
The wintry conditions are expected to diminish by later this week.
The high temperature in Mitchell reached 37 degrees on Monday, and the high is expected to rise by later this week, with the National Weather Service forecasting a high of 46 for Mitchell on Wednesday.
The winter storm Monday was the first time Mitchell received more than 1 inch of snow since Jan. 20, when the area received 4.2 inches of snow.