Road conditions that quickly deteriorated Thursday afternoon with the arrival of freezing rain and sleet caused numerous accidents in western Iowa, including one that claimed the life of a Wisconsin man. The Iowa State Patrol reports 64-year old Ronald Wahl, of Edgerton, WI., died in the crash that happened at around Noon on westbound Interstate 80 in Pottawattamie County, just south of the -680 split. Officials say after Wahl lost control of the 1999 Chevy Silverado pickup he was driving, the pickup entered the ditch and rolled several times. Wahl, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene.
Accidents in Cass County prompted officials from both the City of Atlantic and Cass County Emergency Management to warn people to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary. During the noon hour, there was a report of an accident east of Atlantic on the Highway 6 bridge involving a pickup and trailer, and a multiple vehicle accident on Interstate 80 at the 60-mile marker westbound. No injuries were reported in connection with the Highway 6 accident, and none were immediately reported in association with the I-80 crash, but a woman staying at a motel near the Highway 71/I-80 interchange later reported she was suffering from chest pain as a result of air bag deployment, several hours after the crash.Another accident was reported on Highway 83 at 12:30-p.m. A vehicle rolled into the ditch at a location two-miles west of Marne. Dispatch reports said one person was trapped in the vehicle at the time. Accident also were reported on I-80 westbound near the Shelby exit, I-80 eastbound north of Atlantic at the Olive Street exit, and I-80 eastbound near Avoca. Those incidents caused the roadways to be blocked for several hours. Highway 34 near Creston was blocked for several hours in both directions, due to a jackknifed semi. Another accident had traffic blocked on Interstate 29 near Council Bluffs at around exit 52.
Winter weather advisories were issued for southwest and western Iowa between 11:30-a.m. and Noon on Thursday, just before the accident reports starting piling up. Area school districts, including CAM, Griswold, Council Bluffs, Lewis Central, Treynor, Underwood and Riverside dismissed classes early or canceled some or all their after-school activities..
The Iowa Department of Roads said it is important for motorists to evaluate whether trips during poor driving conditions are necessary before heading out on the roads.