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18 accidents shut down icy I-70

By Bethany Knipp

PAXICO — Eighteen accidents on Interstate 70 Friday morning shut down a 14-mile stretch of the highway for several hours.

The Kansas Highway Patrol closed a segment of the interstate between mile markers 322 and 336 near the Wabaunsee County line close to the exit for Paxico.

The area where most of the trouble occurred was about 10 miles east of the K-177 turnoff to Manhattan.

KHP Trooper Ben Gardner said 18 accidents involving multiple vehicles were reported between mile markers 322 and 349 because of black ice.

Gardner said there were no fatalities or serious injuries, but some people were transported to hospitals by emergency responders to be checked and treated.

Vehicles started rolling and sliding off the road at about 6 a.m.

In addition to the accidents where cars made contact with one another, Gardner said there 75 “slide-offs” – situations where vehicles left the road but were able to continue after getting back to the pavement.

The Kansas Department of Transportation was called to the area to salt the roadways, and I-70 was partially re-opened beginning around 9:15 a.m.

“People need to re-evaluate the need for driving through these areas and adjust accordingly,” Gardner said by way of general advice for motorists facing wintry conditions.

Mill Creek Valley USD 329 was closed for the day because of the dangerous conditions and blocked traffic.

In addition to the accidents on I-70, there were four more incidents on U.S. Highway 59 south of Lawrence.

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