INDOT “surprised” by unexpected weather band

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Indiana State Police say they responded to more than 75 crashes on area interstates during the morning commute.  Many of those accidents had injuries, though none life-threatening.

INDOT says the main issue was that this weather was not forecasted to come this far north.  Not to mention it brought more than expected precipitation and it hit during a congested time.

Jeffrey Boyles said he was going about 40 miles per hour.  He popped over the ramp on I-65 and unsuccessfully avoided two cars that had already crashed

“When I tried to slow down I just completely lost it,” said Boyles.

Then, Boyles had to wait over two hours for a tow.

“So, we’re getting there.  We’re trying to keep up,” said a AAA tow truck driver.

INDOT had 12 trucks out patrolling as part of overnight duties.  Around 6:30 a.m. Tuesday an unexpected, tiny band of freezing rain made its way northeast.  That’s when backups began.  It was bumper to bumper at the I-65 North Split and on I-70 at Keystone.

”I was coming up from Greenwood to an appointment at 10 a.m. and it took me about an hour and a half,” said Bruce Nunnelly.

“Black ice and my car kind of fishtailed and caught control and went ahead to my destination safely,” said Demond Jones.

As soon as INDOT saw the radar it began to deploy more resources.  Freezing rain had already coated the roadways. They had to play catchup and point out that it’s much more difficult to thaw ice than keep it thawed.

“We had expected a chance, a small chance of a trace of precipitation,” said Riggs.

INDOT had a fleet of 40 trucks out by 8 a.m.  But, hitting during rush hour it meant they were stuck in backups with everyone else.  Nathan Riggs said with the information INDOT had they predicted resource deployment the best they could.

“We don’t want to by stingy.  That’s what it’s there for.  To keep the roads and highways as safe as possible.  But, based on the information we were given, these conditions were not supposed to be there,” said Riggs.

Among all of the accidents, was an Allen County Sheriffs transport van.  Five prisoners had to be taken to the hospital.

The Indianapolis Department of Public Works says it will have trucks out pre-treating municipal thoroughfares Tuesday night.

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