Season's First Snow Causes Accidents Across Columbia
COLUMBIA - The first snow of the season and the biting cold made for a one-two punch in Columbia overnight Saturday, as the snow caused minor accidents on the roads and freezing temperatures made cleaning up a tough task.
Columbia Police reported multiple accidents across the city as drifting snow iced roads, and authorities urged people involved in minor accidents to swap information but to avoid calling an overwhelmed police force. As some MU students played in the snow, authorities closed roads temporarily, and the snow and cold made overnight travel difficult as drivers had trouble braking.
Kathleen Carrillo was one of them. Carrillo was driving east on Broadway at Old Highway 63 in Columbia when her brakes locked on a downhill slope. She hit another car, eventually causing a three-vehicle accident. Not even tow trucks were immune -- the driver who was responding to that accident slid down the hill and joined the other cars in the pileup.
"I couldn't even drive five feet without sliding," Carrillo said. "Don't go out. Stay inside -- the roads are horrible. I didn't think it was that bad outside when I left."
As Carrillo and the other drivers exchanged contact information, Columbia Police temporarily closed Broadway between Old Highway 63 and William St.
Not far away, Christopher Yager and Martin Boehmer were filling up their vehicle with gas at the Break Time convenience store at Stadium Blvd. and Old Highway 63 before driving home to Jefferson City. They were in Columbia with their dates to attend a dance, but they said they wouldn't be on the road otherwise.
"Do not go anywhere. It's very dangerous," said Yager, wearing only a T-shirt as he stood beside his vehicle. "Even if you think you can drive, try not to. If you have an option, don't go anywhere."
People involved in fender-benders without injuries or insurance issues should drive themselves home or find a ride after taking down each other's contact information, Columbia and Boone County authorities said. Drivers can fill out an accident report online at the City of Columbia's Web site. The Boone County Sheriff's Department has an accident reporting page online, too.
No relief will come Sunday. Temperatures will hit a high of 18 degrees, then fall to near zero overnight, KOMU 8 Meteorologist Michelle Bogowith said.
While slick roads gave drivers problems overnight, others had fun sliding around. About 30 MU students ventured out to Stankowski Field after midnight for tackle football and sledding.
Stephen Wisch said he and his friends didn't want to let the opportunity to play football in the snow go to waste.
"The majority of us have finals on Monday and Tuesday," Wisch said. "Whatever. We don't care. It's snowing, it's Saturday night, it's 1 a.m., the lights are off, and we're having the time of our lives."