Winter storm accidents close highway during rush hour

A parked Osage County Sheriff’s Office vehicle was damaged in a three-car accident that closed the northbound lane of U.S. Highway 75 for more than an hour during rush hour traffic Tuesday morning.

According to Osage County Sheriff Laurie Dunn, the accident occurred after Osage County Undersheriff Jeff Johnson responded to a single-car rollover accident about two miles south of Carbondale. Johnson had parked a 2012 Dodge Ram pickup, the county’s K-9 vehicle, on the shoulder of the northbound lane, with emergency lights on. The driver of a Doric Concrete Vaults’ truck, a 2009 Chevrolet, had also parked nearby to assist with the accident.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported Ashley Romine, 25, Osage City, was driving a 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix northbound in the left lane about 7:35 a.m. when the car lost traction in the snow and slid out of control into the back of the sheriff’s vehicle and then struck the truck.

Romine was injured in the accident and transported to St. Francis Health Center, Topeka. She was discharged later in the day, according to a hospital spokesperson.

Dunn said the driver of the vehicle in the rollover accident was slightly injured but did not require medical treatment. She said the report on that accident had not been completed and she had no other details as of Tuesday afternoon.

Although Johnson and the driver of the truck were both out of their vehicles, the sheriff’s K-9 officer, Schultz, was in the pickup when it was struck. Dunn said the dog suffered some slight scratches but was otherwise uninjured in the accident.

Dunn said the sheriff’s office pickup was heavily damaged in the accident; it was towed from the scene as was Romine’s car. The Doric truck was driven away.

Several other cars had slid off of the highway in the vicinity of the accidents due to sleet and snow accumulating on the highway during the time of usual heavy commuter traffic heading to Topeka.

Around the time of the accidents, the sheriff’s office received several reports of vehicles sliding off of roads in other parts of the county.

Revised 5:18 p.m. April 24, 2013, to include photo of crashed K-9 vehicle and name of K-9 officer.





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