Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

5 accidents reported on icy I-80 Monday in Kimball County


Five accidents were reported Monday as icy conditions enveloped the area. No serious injuries were reported from any of the accidents.

Kimball County Sheriff Harry Gillway said the first accident occurred at approximately 5:30 a.m. when a tractor trailer left the roadway east of Kimball. Gillway said speed was not a factor in the accident, but high winds helped push the tractor trailer, which was hauling a load of styrofoam, off the road. Gillway said there were no injuries in the accident, but reported that the tractor trailer was most likely a total loss.

As law enforcement officials were working that accident, Gillway said two tractor trailers collided near the scene. The tractor trailers were heading westbound on I-80 when the accident occurred, according to the Nebraska State Patrol.

“It was kind of crazy out there,” Gillway said.

The state patrol reported less than $1,000 worth of damage to each tractor trailer.

Gillway, who was at the scene working the first accident, said speed was a factor in the second accident. He said one of the tractor trailers was driving too fast and collided with the tractor trailer in front of it.

“The roads were icy, and it seems people get a little bit too confident driving out there - particularly tractor trailer drivers,” Gillway said. “People need to slow down and be very careful if they’re going to drive in those conditions.”

The state patrol reported a single vehicle accident at mile marker seven at approximately 7:35 a.m. A white pickup truck rolled over. The state patrol had no additional information on the accident.

Two other tractor trailer accidents occurred Monday. At about 9 a.m., a tractor trailer jackknifed east of Kimball near mile marker 33. Another tractor trailer left the roadway near mile marker 14 at approximately 4 p.m. and got stuck. The state patrol reported less than $1,000 in damage on the last accident.

Gillway said that anyone driving in such conditions needs to be very cautious and avoid being too confident.

“The key thing is to be mindful of the situation. People get a little bit too confident in their ability to drive in ice and snow,” he said.

Gillway said one thing to keep in mind is that the extra precautions added to vehicles and tires actually hurt when driving on ice and snow.

“Cars are made so well these days that when you’re driving down the road, you can’t feel that you’re not actually in control of the vehicle until it’s too late,” he said. “Almost anything can happen.”

Another thing to be wary of is using cruise control while driving in snowy and icy conditions, he said.

“The cruise control actually wants to speed up when it hits ice and the vehicle starts to lose control, and that’s the exact wrong thing to do in that situation,” Gillway said.

The sheriff also wants to remind anyone in Kimball County who has had too much to drink over the holidays to call the sheriff’s office for a free ride home. Gillway said he does not want to see anyone hurt during the holiday season, which is the reason the sheriff’s office offers the free service.


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