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3 snowplows, other vehicles wrecked

By Bethany Knipp

Tuesday’s winter storm has had plowers working hard to clear the Manhattan area’s 13 inches of snow.

Kansas Department of Transportation spokeswoman Kimberly Qualls said northeast Kansas had a total of three accidents involving snow plowing vehicles during the storm.

One of them happened Tuesday at 10:50 a.m., when a Wabaunsee County wreck on Interstate 70 resulted in the transport of a Wamego man to a Topeka hospital.

Robert E. Rickstrew, 58, was transported to Stormont-Vail Regional Health Center in Topeka after his 2001 Starling snow plowing truck was hit by a 2001 Kenworth semi driven by Glenn E. Rudolph, 67, of Boonville, Ind., according to a Kansas Highway Patrol crash report.

Rickstrew was headed east on I-70, plowing snow near Mile Marker 322 west of Tallgrass Road.

Rudolph hit Rickstrew’s vehicle from behind after making a lane change to try and avoid another vehicle.

Rudolph was transported to Mercy Regional Health Center in Manhattan.

Another incident happened in Topeka near I-70 and MacVicar Avenue where a semi hit the plowing vehicle and resulted in a diesel spill.

The third incident, in which a snow plowing truck rolled over, happened in Brown County near the town of Reserve, Qualls said.

“We were very fortunate that everybody’s okay from these incidents,” she said.

Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Ben Gardner said a portion of I-70 was closed as a result of the Wabaunsee County accident.

Qualls said that in the Riley, Pottawatomie, Wabaunsee and Marshall counties, KDOT has 23 snow plows that work on removal in 12-hour shifts for the area’s highways.

She said when accidents happen, it puts a strain on already limited resources, but given the hazardous conditions, wrecks are expected.

“Every winter storm it seems like there’s something,” she said. “It’s just a whole mix of factors that can cause these incidents.”

Officer Matthew Droge of the Riley County Police Department said that in the Manhattan area there were no injury accidents, just a couple fender benders on Tuesday.

He said that during a snow storm, the department responds to major accidents, disabled vehicles and injury accidents, but in minor situations,  drivers should exchange information and report collisions to police later. 

As the recent storm clears up and the forecast indicates more precipitation this week, Qualls said KDOT is focused on removing all the snow it can.

She said salting highways isn’t a part of KDOT’s agenda at the moment because it isn’t effective below 15 degrees.

It can freeze if snow and ice melts around it, she said.

Qualls posted on Twitter that drivers who choose to go out in these conditions should reduce their speed by 50 percent and allow an eight to 10 second following distance between vehicles. s 13 inches of snow.

Kansas Department of Transportation spokeswoman Kimberly Qualls said northeast Kansas had a total of three accidents involving snow plowing vehicles during the storm.

One of them happened Tuesday at 10:50 a.m., when a Wabaunsee County wreck on Interstate 70 resulted in the transport of a Wamego man to a Topeka hospital.

Robert E. Rickstrew, 58, was transported to Stormont-Vail Regional Health Center in Topeka after his 2001 Starling snow plowing truck was hit by a 2001 Kenworth semi driven by Glenn E. Rudolph, 67, of Boonville, Ind., according to a Kansas Highway Patrol crash report.

Rickstrew was headed east on I-70, plowing snow near Mile Marker 322 west of Tallgrass Road.

Rudolph hit Rickstrew









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