ELKHART — Slick conditions on area roads Tuesday morning made commuting dangerous for drivers, with more than 70 accidents reported in Elkhart County starting around 4:30 a.m.
The small amount of snow that accumulated Monday night and early Tuesday became a sheet of ice when temperatures dropped in the early morning. Lt. Travis Adamson, public information officer at the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department, said in a press release that deputies responded to numerous crashes on the U.S. 20 Bypass. According to Adamson, police responded to three separate accidents that involved 20 vehicles in one eastbound location, a mile west of S.R. 19. Of those accidents, one person was taken to the hospital. Their condition is unknown. Three other people suffered minor injuries.
Accidents were reported throughout other parts of the county as well.
Police went to a head-on collision at the intersection of S.R. 15 and Tarman Road around 5:15 a.m.
The collision happened when a vehicle going south on S.R. 15 attempted to turn left onto Tarman Road, but was traveling too fast for the road conditions, sliding toward a vehicle going north on S.R. 15.
Two women were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
On C.R. 17, police and Jefferson Township EMS responded to a three-vehicle accident between Beck Drive and Hoffman Street around 7:30 a.m.
A vehicle going south and one going north on C.R. 17 collided head-on when the vehicle going north lost control on ice. The second vehicle hit another vehicle that was going south, according to an Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department accident report. A woman and a 7-year-old girl were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. Northbound traffic was stopped for almost an hour.
Jim Krezel, operations manager for the Elkhart subdistrict of the Indiana Department of Transportation, said INDOT employees tackled the roads as they normally do. But the temperature dropped fast, before the road had been cleared of snow, forming a sheet of ice along the bypass.
Street departments throughout the county responded early with sand and salt mixes. Marty Morgan, street commissioner for the City of Elkhart, said the light snow gave street department employees the chance to go through the process after months without plowing.
“It was a little rusty,” he said. “Everybody was trying to get back to the groove, understanding the operations.”