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Snowfall triggers rash of crashes

Becky Vargo • Nov 14, 2018 at 7:00 AM

Slick spots on the roads from the season’s first snowfalls have contributed to a number of crashes in the Tri-Cities area over the past few days.

Sgt. Michael Vandenbosch of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office said that while no major weather-related crashes had occurred in the area as of early Tuesday afternoon, his department has been busy.

“A couple dozen minor one-car crashes into the ditch is all, really,” Vandenbosch said. “Car-deer crashes are more prevalent right now.” 

One of the crashes tied up a lane of traffic late Tuesday morning on the M-104 bridge going from Spring Lake to Ferrysburg. A semi-truck jackknifed as it was approaching the curve into Ferrysburg.

Weather and a possible mechanical problem contributed to the incident, said Sgt. Jason Kik of the Sheriff’s Office. He noted that the crash is still under investigation by the Michigan State Police Motor Carrier Division.

Kal Hoisington of Dick’s Towing said the road was icy at the time, and the semi driver hit the truck’s brakes and the tractor jackknifed and hit the guardrail hard.

“It was leaking anti-freeze — it wasn’t drivable,” Hoisington said.

The towing business operator said this incident was the sixth weather-related job his company had responded to between Monday night and Tuesday morning. 

A Ford Fusion slid through the intersection of M-231 and M-45 on Monday night, rolled over and landed upside down in a water-filled ditch, Hoisington said. 
The driver was fortunate to be able to get out on his own, Hoisington said, but he had gotten wet and was suffering from hypothermia. An ambulance took the man to a local hospital.

Dick’s Towing also responded to a rollover crash at 160th Avenue and Lincoln Street in Grand Haven Township and a crash at Waverly Avenue and Beechtree Street in Grand Haven, Hoisington said.

“We always experience an increase in crashes when the winter weather arrives,” Kik said. “Drivers should give themselves more time to get where they are going, remove distractions such as a cellphone and just slow down.” 

The National Weather Service forecast shows sunshine and a high of 33 today (Wednesday), with temperatures creeping into the lower 40s on Thursday and Friday. The next chance for snow comes with a rain/snow mix Friday night and Saturday.

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