Fast moving storm causes tons of accidents |

Fast moving storm causes tons of accidents

Christine Ina Casillas
NWS I-70 Snow3 11-17-03 CS

Monday’s snow storm stayed right where it was needed most – Vail and Beaver Creek. The storm nailed eastern Eagle County with near white-out conditions, creating pile ups on Interstate 70 and closing the eastbound lane of Vail Pass.And just in time for the evening rush hour, a multicar accident near Wolcott closed both sides of the interstate. State troopers headed west to “try to uncluster it,” said Sgt. George Dingfelder with the Colorado State Patrol.Skiers won’t be the only ones to capitalize on the storm. About 20 tow trucks were called out to rescue about the same number of semi trucks that had spun off the interstate. None of those accidents injured anyone, Dingfelder said.”The storm came in so quickly there was no way for us to keep up with it,” Dingfelder said. “But, surprisingly, there weren’t very many accidents.”State Patrol troopers responded to about five minor accidents, Dingfelder said, but none were serious.”Most of the accidents were in the eastbound lanes,” Dingfelder said. “There were no problems in the westbound lanes all day.”One injury accident was reported in the eastbound lane in Vail at mile marker 174, but that, too, wasn’t serious, said Sgt. Mike Knox with the Vail Police Department.”It’s just really slippery outside,” Knox said. “We went on accident alert early today. People are driving too fast for the conditions. It’s as simple as that.”The Vail Police Department responded to about four or five accidents because of the weather but none of them were serious, Knox said.”A lot of people slid off the road, and that’s really not considered an accident, but we have to dig them out, anyway,” Knox said. “We’re glad we didn’t see anybody get hurt.”To some travelers, the frontage road in Vail resembled an ice skating rink, with cars slipping and sliding all over the place.”It’s a mess out here,” Dingfelder said earlier in the afternoon. “It’s snowing so hard and the visibility is so poor. Lanes are blocked because of all the accidents. People are spinning out everywhere.”In the early evening, traffic backed up enough to stop some of the potentially more severe accidents, Dingfelder said.”Traffic’s hardly moving now,” Dingfelder said. “It’s hard to crash when you’re hardly moving. We have some stalls here and there but traffic’s heavy right now.”Accidents were “pretty moderate” in Avon, said Avon Police Detective Mike Leake. But still kept the department busy.People need to slow down, said Kathy Warren, spokeswoman for the Eagle River Fire Protection District.”Everyone is crashing into each other,” Warren said. “The weather has gotten so bad and no one has slowed down yet, and they’re crashing into each other because of the weather.”Coreen Sapp contributed to this report.Christine Ina Casillas can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607 or at

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