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Thanksgiving quiet on SD roads

The Thanksgiving holiday was quiet on South Dakota roadways. According to Tony Mangan, public information officer for the South Dakota Department of Public Safety, only one injury crash was reported on state highways and interstates between Wedne...

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The Thanksgiving holiday was quiet on South Dakota roadways.

According to Tony Mangan, public information officer for the South Dakota Department of Public Safety, only one injury crash was reported on state highways and interstates between Wednesday and Thursday. The crash occurred West River, Mangan said, and it "wasn't major."

In each 2013, 2014 and 2015, the state saw two fatalities on its roadways around Thanksgiving, Mangan said. One of 2015's fatal crashes was the result of drunk driving, and the other resulted in the death of Mitchell man Mike McCreight at the junction of Highways 34 and 37, near Artesian.

The decline in crashes through Thanksgiving day is the result of travelers being heedful of their surroundings, Mangan said, as well as ideal weather conditions for a large portion of the state, with mild temperatures and limited precipitation.

"We're thankful for that," Mangan said."As always, we encouraged people to slow down, wear seat belts, watch for others and be ready in case weather does change."

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Leading up to the holiday, Mangan said South Dakota Highway Patrol troopers and officials participated in several campaigns across the state to promote safe driving.

Earlier in the week, officers met with law enforcement agencies in Sioux Falls and Rapid City to promote seat belt use, and, on Wednesday, Highway Patrol troopers were out "in full force" as part of a statewide, high-visibility effort to encourage travelers to drive safely. During Operation Safe Thanksgiving, troopers focused on discouraging and arresting drunk drivers and enforcing seat belt compliance, as well as enforcing other traffic laws like speeding, stop sign and passing zone violations, according to the Highway Patrol.

"We hope all of that is helping make people aware, and we certainly hope people are just paying attention," Mangan said.

And, while Thanksgiving is over, the stretch of increased holiday travel is expected to continue through Sunday.

"Whether it's a holiday or just any day, we ask you to be careful, and we ask you to be safe," Mangan said. "Nobody gets up any day thinking this will be their last day, so be careful always."

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