47 traffic accidents reported as severe weather hits

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Snow plows and deicers block traffic on Interstate 90 as snow and slush accumulated while temperatures rose on Thursday. Severe weather conditions caused 47 accidents between Feb. 6 and Feb. 11. (Kathleen Woodford/Mineral Independent).

Icy, snow-covered roads caused a number of the accidents earlier in the week, while melting snow and slush compounded driving conditions toward the latter part of the week. In total, 47 incidents were reported by the Montana Highway Patrol in Mineral County and near Frenchtown, between Feb. 6 and Feb. 11.

Parris Ja Young and his wife, Nancy, from Alberton were driving west from Missoula on Wednesday evening and witnessed an accident. Parris said they were traveling at about 60 mph when a vehicle in front of them “careened through the slush from the passing lane directly onto the way of a semi,” he posted on Facebook.

The semi jackknifed a little and then straightened out. It hit the car and pushed it down the highway sideways and came to rest far on the right side of the right lane. The couple pulled over and called the wreck in to 911. Parris said he didn’t think anyone was injured in the accident as emergency crews arrived on the scene.

Another Alberton resident, Delani Hanley, was the victim of an accident early Thursday morning near Frenchtown. It was around 6:30 a.m. and the roads had not yet been plowed. The highway was thick with slush when a semi-truck came up on her vehicle. Hanley moved closer to the side of her lane and got caught in some slush, flipping her car upside down into a snow bank.

Hanley said that luckily she was wearing her seatbelt and hung upside down for about three minutes. She thought the truck driver was going to stop and help, but he never did. The window had broken out in the wreck, so she managed to unbuckle herself and dig her way out of the window and snow bank. Once free, she called 911. Hanley was not injured in the accident.

During the week, 29 of the traffic incidents happened between Wednesday and Thursday. Substantial snow fall caused several inches of accumulated snow and ice on roadways on Wednesday followed by rain, freezing rain, snow melt and slush as temperatures rose throughout the day on Thursday.

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