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Snowfall light, but traffic accidents pile up

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At least 27 cars slid into ditches, went into medians or collided with utility poles after a little more than an inch of snow fell Friday morning.

About 1.2 inches of snow fell around Johnson County starting at 5:43 a.m., and local police stayed busy going from one accident to the next between 8 a.m. and noon.

On Interstate 65, the Indiana State Police had to send out more troopers to handle multiple accidents around the Whiteland Road and Main Street exits.

Most of the accidents on I-65 happened when motorists didn’t allow themselves enough time to slow down for backed-up traffic and hit the cars in front of them, Indiana State Police spokesman Rich Myers said.

Motorists in Johnson County also were driving too fast in the snowy conditions and lost control of their vehicles, Sheriff Doug Cox said.

“They think they went through a supposed blizzard a few weeks ago, and since this is a dusting they shouldn’t have to worry about this. There’s always a little sheet or layer of ice underneath. Those are the ones that sneak up and bite us,” Cox said.

Greenwood Police Department Sgt. Doug Roller said motorists in the morning rush hour did not slow down as much as they should have for the snow.

By noon, the roads were clear and local police were no longer getting called to accidents.

Jason Puma, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said light snow is deceiving for motorists because they might not notice ice on the roads.

“With 2 or 3 inches, they don’t drive fast at all. But when it’s a small amount, just enough to cover the road surface, it’s enough to make the road slippery. There’s a preconceived notion that it’s not that bad, when it can be just as bad,” Puma said.

The National Weather Service expects more snow or flurries starting Sunday afternoon, Puma said.

Local police were unsure of how many people were injured in the accidents or how severe those injuries were.

Sheriff’s deputies were called to nine accidents, three where people were injured, and one slide-off Friday morning. Accidents were reported on U.S. 31 and State Road 37.

A truck flipped over and downed power lines in one of the accidents near State Road 37 and Stones Crossing Road.

Cox was not sure of the number people injured in individual accidents or what injuries they had, but he said most of the accidents the sheriff’s office responded to involved only one vehicle.

In Greenwood, a woman complained of arm and neck pain after her car was struck by a snow plow, Roller said.

The woman told police she had not seen the snowplow coming when she pulled onto Main Street from Polk Street and into the plow’s path.

The plow hit the front of her car, Roller said.

Police also were called to four other accidents in Greenwood, and Franklin police were called to two accidents.

Because of the high number of accidents, Cox said the nine sheriff’s deputies working had to handle accidents alone and that delayed their response to other calls.

“You sometimes have to wait in bad weather situations, because accidents come first. We don’t want people to be mad, but it may be an hour or two in taking a police report because of the weather,” Cox said.

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