Emergency personnel kept busy during icy weather

Jan. 23—Pontotoc County Sheriff John Christian said there were multiple incidents around the county Sunday night involving motorists either losing control and sliding off of roadways, or getting stuck in the roadways, unable to climb hills due to loss of traction on icy roads.

He said there were wrecks, but no serious injuries were reported. At one point Sunday night, on state Highway 1 east of Ada, near McCall's Chapel School, Christain said more than a dozen motorists became stranded on and off the roadway when they couldn't make it up a hill.

Christian said deputies were busy most of the night responding to the incidents.

Roads became ice-covered before 8 p.m. as freezing rain fell and remained covered through the night. The poor road conditions were predicted by weather experts days in advance.

"They (law enforcement and other emergency personnel) were just trying to get the roads clear, so that people that could get through could get through," Christian said. "We had a couple of semis that slid and blocked roads, and we had other places where cars slid sideways and couldn't move, blocking roads. So that was the main thing, just trying to keep everybody out of the road where other traffic could either go on through and (prevent further accidents)."

Christian said there were a couple of incidents where EMS ambulances slid off the roads while responding to incidents and had to be helped back onto the roadways.

City of Ada Public Information Director Lisa Bratcher said Ada police were busy Sunday night and Monday morning responding to cars that slid off roadways.

She said no major injury wrecks occurred, and that the city of Ada Street Department closed the "five streets on the hill," near East Central University — 14th, 15th, 16th, Francis, and Center streets. The streets were closed at about 6 p.m. Sunday in anticipation of the inclement weather and were expected to reopen once the ice melted.

Christian said on Monday morning, a deputy was helping to direct traffic around road crews while they were sanding when an Oklahoma Department of Transportation worker crashed a sand truck into the deputy's patrol vehicle.

No one was injured, and Christian said Monday morning that he was unsure of the extent to which the patrol vehicle was damaged.