Winter weather event snarls area traffic

By Kathi Bliss
Editor/POST-REGISTER

Two days of wintry weather caused more than two dozen accidents over two separate days last week.

In the late hours of the evening on Feb. 3, a blast of Arctic air powered through Central Texas, bringing with it more than the snow forecasters had promised, but sleet, freezing rain and a sheet of ice that covered most of the region by daybreak on Friday morning.

Despite warnings from local and regional authorities, many area residents chose to leave their homes, traveling to their jobs, stores or other locations.

Many, however, including nearly half of Lockhart ISD’s parents, opted to stay inside, keep their children home from school and bunker down against the weather.

According to information gathered from the Lockhart Police Department, reports were written on four collisions, including one rollover accident, on Friday morning.

Public Information Office John Roescher noted those accident reports did not include the dozens of vehicles that either slid off the road or were immobilized by the ice.

Wednesday morning, another front came through, again, bringing ice slicks to roads and bridges throughout Caldwell County. At press time on Wednesday, Roescher reported six accidents between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. in or near Lockhart.

One of those accidents, which caused Highway 142 near the intersection of State Highway 130 to be closed for a prolonged period, involved a Lockhart ISD school bus.

According to LISD Superintendent Jose Parra, the accident occurred when the bus, traveling back to Lockhart after dropping students off in San Marcos, was struck by an oncoming passenger vehicle that lost control and skidded on the ice.

Parra said there were no students on board the bus at the time, and that the LISD staff involved in the collision were “doing fine.”

Information was not available on the status of the driver of the other vehicle involved in
the crash.

The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Department reported that between Friday and Wednesday, 26 calls were dispatched for weather-related accidents in Caldwell County. Many of those were on heavily-traveled commuter routes, including five incidents in Mustang Ridge, five in Mendoza, four in Maxwell and seven in unincorporated areas along Highway 183 North and South.

By 10 a.m. on Wednesday, most precipitation had cleared from the area and driving dangers decreased considerably. Because Lockhart ISD did not cancel classes, Parra said he would be monitoring the situation closely, in order to ensure the safety of students traveling home after classes were dismissed. However, he said he did not expect an early dismissal, nor did he expect any problems to be reported after school.

While no more severe winter weather is currently forecast for Caldwell County, law enforcement officials remind drivers to exercise extreme caution while driving in icy conditions.

Their first advice, of course, is for drivers to stay home unless an emergency calls them to be on the roads. However, if area residents are forced to drive, they are urged to monitor their speed, and make sure to leave plenty of room between vehicles on the roadways.
kathibliss@post-register.com

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