Wintry mix causes closings, accidents across Fayette County

By Ashley Bunton -

A wintry mix of severe weather Monday cancelled schools and county agencies across Fayette County and was attributed to causing more than a dozen accidents.

Fayette County was placed under a level one winter weather advisory throughout Monday morning into the early afternoon hours.

The National Weather Service in Wilmington reported a mixed precipitation of snow, sleet and freezing rain in the forecast would make travel difficult.

Fayette County Engineer Steve Luebbe said the plow truck drivers got an early start Monday on the process of treating and clearing the county roads.

Fayette County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Andy Bivens said that by 11:30 a.m. Monday morning, deputies had responded to 15 vehicle accidents that occurred as a result of the inclement weather.

“None of our crashes were severe,” said Bivens. “We didn’t have any reported injuries in any of the crashes, I believe. One of them was reported an injury crash, and the vehicle had rolled over, but the deputy arrived on the scene and there was no injury,” said Bivens.

All of the vehicles reportedly either slid off the road without damage or crashed into a guardrail or fence, said Bivens.

The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office reported one accident in Concord Township, one in Jasper Township, four in Jefferson Township, three in Marion Township and just one accident in Union Township.

One of the accidents to occur in Jefferson Township was a roll-over on I-71, said Bivens, but there were no injuries reported. Information from the Ohio State Highway Patrol was not available Monday.

As precipitation tapered off into the afternoon and temperatures rose, Luebbe said the roads started to clear up.

“The guys on the routes know where their problem areas are. Our average experience on our plow truck drivers is probably 15 years. They’ve been doing it a long time and they know their routes.”

Icy road conditions throughout the county initially placed Washington City Schools on a two-hour delay Monday around 6 a.m. The school district made an initial announcement that there would be no morning preschool, but at 7:45 a.m. the schools were declared closed for the day.

Miami Trace Local Schools were placed on a two-hour delay but soon administrators also announced the schools would be closed for the day.

Fayette Christian School, Southern State Community College, and all four Great Oaks campuses were also closed.

Closings due to inclement weather extended beyond schools.

Fayette County Memorial Hospital issued a statement and said the Medical and Surgical Associates and Same Day Care Clinic would remain closed until at least noon Monday and urged patients with appointments to stay at home.

The Fayette County Commission on Aging closed Monday from the weather and was unable to provide transportation, in-house meals, or Meals on Wheels due to icy road conditions. People were instructed to use their blizzard packs.

Washington Court House Municipal Court also closed Monday, the Washington Municipal Court Probation Department said in a message on its Facebook page.

Tanger Outlets in Jeffersonville announced it would open later than usual Monday to accommodate for the icy road conditions.

Taking stock of the county’s road salt supply for the remainder of the season, Luebbe said, “We have a huge supply on hand. We’re probably sitting on 1,500 tons in the yard right now.”

Enough, said Luebbe, to typically last throughout the winter.

But, there is no chance of snow forecasted into the immediate future.

Weather temperatures in the region are expected to be significantly warmer throughout the remainder of the week, according to the National Weather Service, with rain and a high near 60 degrees possible Thursday.

By Ashley Bunton

Contact Ashley at (740) 313-0355 or connect on Twitter by searching for @ashbunton and send a message.

Contact Ashley at (740) 313-0355 or connect on Twitter by searching for @ashbunton and send a message.