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Driver dies in Northland as accidents pile up on treacherous roads

Updated: 2013-12-22T05:52:56Z

By JAMES A. FUSSELL

The Kansas City Star

Getting around on the Kansas City area’s ice-slicked roadways Saturday was a hazard for drivers.

Today figures to be a different kind of challenge, with forecasters predicting 3 to 5 inches of snow to start the day.

The National Weather Service was forecasting more freezing rain and sleet late Saturday, giving away to snow overnight. After a high of 25 today, the low will be about 5 degrees, the weather service said, and will drop Monday night to zero.

As roads and bridges started icing Saturday afternoon, accident reports began to mount. The Missouri and Kansas highway patrols reported “accidents everywhere” with fender benders, rollovers and vehicles in ditches.

The icy roads claimed at least one victim, an unidentified man in Kansas City, North, who died shortly before 4 p.m. in a one-vehicle accident near the intersection of Missouri 152 and North Indiana Avenue. Police said they would not identify the driver until they had notified his family.

Near Marshall, Mo., four firefighters and a Missouri Highway Patrol trooper were injured shortly after 4 p.m. when a driver traveling too fast for the icy roads lost control of his car and hit them on Interstate 70, said Sgt. Collin Stosberg of the Missouri Highway Patrol.

The rescuers were on the scene of an earlier rollover crash when the driver drove over a median and crashed through protective steel cables into the men, Stosberg said.

Three firefighters had serious, but not life-threatening, injuries. An ambulance took them to University Hospital in Columbia. Another ambulance took the other firefighter, who had minor injuries, and the trooper to Fitzgibbon Hospital in Marshall. The trooper suffered minor injuries when he jumped down an embankment to avoid being struck by the vehicle.

“Motorists need to adjust their driving habits to the winter season,” said Stosberg. “In the past 24 hours, most of the state of Missouri has received snow and ice, making traveling very treacherous. In the same time period there have been 11 weather-related traffic fatalities in Missouri.”

Marshall is about 80 miles east of Kansas City in Saline County.

In Kansas, a man died in a weather-related accident early Saturday morning on the Kansas Turnpike. He was identified as Stephen E. Dewald, 48, of Andover, Kan.

The Kansas Turnpike Authority gave this account: Around 2:50 a.m., Dewald was going north when he tried to pass another vehicle, lost control on the icy roadway, spun 180 degrees, left the road and overturned in the ditch. He was ejected.

Tim Potter of The Wichita Eagle contributed to this report. To reach James A. Fussell, call 816-234-4460 or send email to jfussell@kcstar.com.

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