Icy roads lead to 13 accidents

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Icy road conditions contributed to 13 traffic accidents throughout Routt County on Wednesday.

Routt County law enforcement officials say most of the accidents were because of people driving too fast on slick, icy roads. No one was seriously injured in any of the accidents, though several vehicles were badly damaged.

"Ninety-nine percent of the accidents are from driving too fast," said Routt County Sheriff John Warner. "People just need to take a couple of minutes and slow down."

"That's the whole story," Steamboat Springs Assistant Police Chief Art Fiebing said. "It's called driving too fast for conditions."

The first reported incident of the day was at 6:32 a.m. in Yampa, where a van slid into a car in the parking lot of the Oak Tree Inn behind Penny's Diner. Officials did not say whether speed was a factor.

Almost two hours later, a two-vehicle, noninjury accident occurred just west of the intersection of Routt County Road 129 and Lincoln Avenue. Several accidents occurred along C.R. 129, particularly near the entrance to the Steamboat Springs Airport, where several motorists said the road was extremely slick and in need of sand, Fiebing said.

As the day progressed, several minor accidents happened within Steamboat, as drivers bumped and nicked other cars at traffic lights, stop signs and in parking lots, Fiebing said. Steamboat police were overwhelmed with calls at times, and the Routt County Sheriff's Office was called to assist on some incidents.

Wednesday, changing temperatures created constantly changing road conditions, which should have given people even more of a reason to slow down, Warner said.

"You should leave plenty of room between yourself and the car ahead of you," Warner said. "Leave a couple of extra minutes early and slow down."

For the second time this week, an accident occurred on Walnut Street in Hayden, an area known by Hayden residents as "Hospital Hill." Motorists need to drive extra slowly on the hill, Hayden Police Chief Jody Lenahan said. Both accidents were the result of people driving too fast for the icy road, he said.

"Some areas are dry, but you come around the curve and they are snow-packed and icy, especially in the shaded areas," Lenahan said.

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