Lingering Dangers Cause Problems for Highway Drivers

By: Candace Barnette Email
By: Candace Barnette Email

"I've been driving for eight years, but I never expected something like this to happen to me."

Roman Riak says he's accustomed to icy conditions while driving his truck up North, but was very surprised when he hit a patch of black ice driving northbound on I-59, causing his 18-wheeler to jackknife and turn over.

"Truck jackknife, and then try to slow down, you know," Riak explains. "There's no way to slow down; it's just ice, faced me South. That's what happened. I'm okay, and I got out okay."

Roman's accident was one of nearly 200 wrecks or stranded motorists and one fatality the Mississippi Highway Patrol has responded to just in this area so far. Those numbers are starting to dwindle now that the highways are thawing out.

"A lot of the ice actually melted, and the water that did have time to dry did dry a lot of our highways, but there are still some spots remaining that still have some patchy ice," Corporal Andy West of the Mississippi Highway Patrol says.

Corporal West says most of the work being done now is from clean up crews tending to previous accidents, but just because the roads seem safe now, doesn't mean you shouldn't take extra caution while driving.

Lingering patches of ice, like the one Roman encountered are still an issue, but the clean up crews present their own dangers for drivers.

"Today our main concern is the clean up crews," Corporal West says. "They're out trying to clean up from what had happened, and what we're asking drivers to do is be careful. Look out for those guys."

The highway patrol is hoping the rest of that ice clears up soon. But in the meantime, patrolmen urge you to be careful.


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