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Iowa Department of Public Safety
215 East 7th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
www.dps.state.ia.us

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For immediate release: Sergeant Nathan Ludwig
 

Public Information Officer
Iowa State Patrol

Thursday, December 20, 2012 nludwig@dps.state.ia.us
(515) 745-2863 - cell
(515) 725-6093 - office

State Patrol Continues Efforts to Aid Motorists, Clear Multiple Crash Scenes

Des Moines, IOWA --- Roadways across Iowa remain impassable due to snow and ice covered roads, reduced visibility from blowing snow, or wreckage in the road from various multiple vehicle crashes. Motorists should avoid travel on Iowa's highways and interstates at all costs. This point cannot be over-emphasized.

Iowa State Patrol Troopers report that currently there is stand-still traffic in both directions of Interstate 80 between the 187 mile marker and the 197 mile marker. Some motorists have been stuck along the interstate for hours, and progress to clear the roadway is slow. Motorists who are stuck in this situation should remain calm and exercise patience. Please remain with your vehicle and avoid walking along the Interstate. To conserve fuel, turn your vehicle off when possible, only starting your engines for a few moments at a time to maintain warmth. Now is the time to use your emergency car kit with blankets and non-perishable food.

Emergency responders are working quickly to bring food and water to the grid-locked section of the Interstate. This area should be avoided at all costs.

The Iowa State Patrol also continues its efforts to investigate an early morning crash along Interstate 35 in northern Iowa. At least 25 vehicles were involved in a crash that began when drivers were unable to see vehicles that had either slowed or stopped on the Interstate. A chain reaction of crashes then ensued in the near zero visibility conditions. It has been confirmed that two individuals died in this crash, with another seven injured. Please note this is a correction from earlier reports that indicated there were three fatalities.

Troopers are working very hard, along with our partners at the Iowa Department of Transportation and the National Guard to assist motorists who've become stranded. Preliminary numbers from the State Communications Centers indicate that beginning at 5:00 on December 19, 2012 and continuing through noon today, the Iowa State Patrol reported the below activity:

  • 88 crashes
  • 164 emergency calls from the public (including wireless 911 and HELP line calls)
  • 161 motorist assists
  • 38 requests for wrecker services

These figures do not include crashes that may have occurred and have yet to be responded to by the State Patrol due to continued poor conditions. These numbers are expected to rise.

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