Winter weather hits KELOLAND and catches some people off guard. One semi driver doesn’t realize the interstate is blocked off to traffic until it’s too late.
Despite a heavily forecasted winter weather system, more than 100 cars and trucks found themselves in the ditches up and down the interstates and one semi driver, who didn't go in the ditch, is making headlines.
Lines of stranded trucks and cars are eager to get back on the roads following the first major winter weather event of the season that closed both Interstate 90 west of Sioux Falls and Interstate 29 north to Sisseton. Monday's sunshine provides for much different driving conditions than just 24 hours ago.
Snow and wind forced the closure of hundreds of miles of interstate. While several locations with multi-vehicle accidents lined the roadways between Brookings and Sioux Falls, there is another crash that has people talking.
A KELOLAND photographer was on the interstate Sunday shooting video of the road conditions when a semi driver plowed right through the barricade, sending debris flying. The driver admitted to the Highway Patrol he saw the trooper's car and amber lights, but didn't see the barricade.
The Highway Patrol's district commander reacts to the crash.
"It's hard to believe he didn't know it was closed. We don't just close a road because we think it's something we need to do. We close a road because we have to close the road. Conditions are such that if we don't, it could put a lot of people in peril," South Dakota Highway Patrol Captain Kevin Joffer said.
Troopers out of the Sioux Falls district responded to 125 calls for help. 49 of those involved crashes and seven injuries.
Joffer hopes now that we've had the first major winter weather event of the season that drivers will slow down and drive more cautiously.
"When we close a road, the ultimate goal is public safety," Joffer said.
There were more than a dozen crashes in the Northeast part of the state. The Aberdeen district reports two fatal accidents over the weekend. Numbers from the Rapid City district are not available at this time.