A slippery start

Freezing rain covered Fort Dodge for much of Sunday morning and into the afternoon, creating bad conditions for those who couldn’t stay home.

No major accidents were reported by the Fort Dodge Police Department or the Iowa State Patrol, but there was plenty of sliding around, said police Lt. Chuck Guthrie.

“We’ve had numerous minor accidents, that have caused minor damage,” Guthrie said. “We’ve had a lot of falls. Somebody thought they broke their leg, and we had a couple injuries. We even had an officer fall.”

The six total accidents started rolling in around 11:30 a.m., Guthrie said, well after the sanders began treating the roads at 7 or 7:30 a.m.

By later in the day, most of the roads were in good shape.

“It got a little easier to travel the more mushy it got,” Guthrie said.

Though the main roads had opened up, some side streets were still quite slippery.

Cassidy Baschke was on her way from Spencer to Iowa Central Community College when her car slid out of control and crashed into a tree on a curve in a dead-end street just south of Avenue F and E street.

“It was perfectly fine because we were on the busier streets,” said Baschke. “We came here and were turning around because my GPS had the wrong address.”

When she turned off Avenue F, she found that the road was covered in a thick sheet of nearly invisible ice.

“I was going about 10 miles an hour, not even, and I stepped on the brakes and went straight into the tree,” she said.

Guthrie said the ice gave even the experts some trouble. In Fort Dodge, a sander slid into a power pole and took it out at 2011 S. 15th St., he said, and just outside Stratford a sand truck slid into the ditch around the intersection of Iowa Highway 175 and County Road D64.

The Iowa Department of Transportation recommends people postpone travel in these conditions.

“You have your normal people who want to come out and just look around, and see what’s going on. They’re the ones who end up getting into most of the problems,” Guthrie said. “The smart ones stayed home today, if they could avoid going out.”

By Sunday evening, all Fort Dodge schools and several surrounding school districts decided to play it safe and delay school two hours on Monday.