Icy road conditions lead to numerous wrecks around East Texas

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Problematic overpasses and bridges have been reopened after severe winter weather returned to deep East Texas.

TxDOT tells KTRE there is still some ice on roadways in a few places, but sunny skies and road crews helped melt a majority of it.

But not before the ice and snow played havoc on some East Texans' commute this morning.

Tuesday morning East Texans woke up to a sight that is becoming more and more familiar, snow filled lawns and icy roads.

"It was so beautiful but I'm thinking this is dangerous," said Jennifer May, Driver.

Many school districts delayed the start of the school day.

And throughout Lufkin many drivers ran into some rough patches on their morning commute.

"It's just progressively gotten worse, overpasses freezing it's nasty out here," said Jason Vance, LPD Patrol Officer.

Just four days ago, inches of snow shut down various bridges and overpasses.

But TxDOT Spokesperson Kathi White says the US 59 connector bridge at Loop 287 had more ice Tuesday than it did last week

"We certainly can't say that was a dry run, I guess that was a wet run," said White.

The snow began to fall around 2:00 a.m., and White says most of the problems they saw were inside Lufkin city limits.

"The rural areas are not that bad right now but when you talk about some of the rural counties we have a different situations we have icy conditions out there as well," said White.

Tim Swanson made his morning drive to Lufkin all the way from San Augustine.

"Pure snow, we got more snow in San Augustine County than Angelina County did," said Swanson.

Swanson says when he left his house this morning, many roads hadn't been traveled on yet and his usual 30 minute commute doubled.

"I did go really really slow and I kept people in front of me and their cars a good length and watched if they were sliding," said Swanson.

By mid-afternoon, the sun was out and most of the ice had melted and at two all of the roads had been reopened.

TxDOT says if the weather stays as it is, and there is no more rain or snow they do not expect any additional roadway issues.

Of course, if conditions change, TxDOT says they are prepared to respond.

A woman escaped with no injuries after she lost control of her SUV on an icy overpass on John Redditt Drive Tuesday morning, and it rolled down the embankment.

According to Lufkin Police officers on the scene, the woman was driving a white Ford Expedition south on John Redditt Drive when she lost control of her vehicle. After the SUV rode the guard rail for about 150 feet, it rolled down the embankment and came to rest on its wheels near the southbound feeder road for Loop 287.

The woman told police that she rolled over completely at least once. However, she wasn't sure exactly how many times her Expedition rolled over. The SUV came to rest within a quarter mile of the Lucky Puppy kennel.

While the LPD officers were working the wreck on the southbound side of John Redditt Drive, another accident occurred in the northbound lanes. The minor, two-vehicle accident did not result in any injuries.

Around 9:50 a.m. another vehicle rolled over in the construction zone on Loop 287 near the exit for Kit McConnico Park. No injuries were reported in that accident either.

Authorities are urging motorists to use caution and take things slow when conditions are icy.

"When it gets icy, you need to get off the roads, and when we say, 'stay off the roads', you really need to stay off the roads," said Kathi White, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Transportation. "I think a lot of motorists found that to be true in this last situation."

In Polk County, most of the roads were clear of ice, but some spotty areas caused problems for East Texas drivers.

Twigs, rocks and grasswere barely peeking out from hard ice packed on top of road slush on bridgesfrom Moscow to Livingston.

Most of the ice on thebridges had melted by lunch time, but problem areas caused an 18-wheeler traveling Northbound on U.S. 59 to slip and slide as icebegan to refreeze on the roads into patches of water.

The driver of the18-wheeler was OK, but officers with the Livingston Police Department said thetires on the drivers truck slipped when they hit a patch of cracked ice onRailroad Bridge. The driver was unable to maintain control and the 18-wheeler then slid off theroad and then down a hill landing in an upright position.

About a minute later,another car hit that same patch of ice, and rolled over, the officers said.While officers were clearing that scene, a truck on the opposite side ofRailroad Bridge hit a piece of cracked ice, spun out of control, and hit themedian. The impact caused the damage to the driver side front bumper and thepassenger side back tail light.

All parties involved inthe accidents were OK and left with no injuries.

Livingston Police saythe weather wasn't as bad on Tuesday as it was last week, and most drivers wereprepared for the worst.

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