County kicked by foot of snow
More than a foot of snow that began falling at 9 a.m. Saturday led to a rash of accidents and slide-offs, canceled Saturday night’s Christmas parade in Marion, and delayed or canceled classes in three school districts Monday.
As temperatures dipped to near zero after the snowstorm, Centre schools were closed. Marion and Hillsboro schools were delayed two hours with no preschool in Hillsboro and no morning kindergarten in Marion.
Tow trucks continued Monday to pull out vehicles that had slid off snow-packed roadways during heavy snow and reduced visibility of less than 100 yards over the weekend.
According to monitored police transmissions, disabled vehicles began being reported starting around 10:30 a.m. Saturday and continuing through Sunday on:
- 60th Rd. near Timber Rd.
- 150th Rd. near Eagle Rd.
Broadway at Church St. in Burns.
- Elm St. north of Main St. in Marion.
- Goldenrod Rd. south of 100th Rd.
- Indigo Rd. between 110th and 120th Rds.
- Industrial Rd. in Hillsboro south of Hillsboro Community Hospital.
- Nighthawk Rd. near 130th Rd.
- Pawnee Rd. near 40th and 60th Rds., where a bulldozer was needed to free stuck vehicles re-routed off US-50 and I-35 by errant GPS systems.
- Sunflower Rd. just south of Marion, where two county snowplows became stuck in ditches.
- K-15 at Bison and 320th Rds.
- K-150 just east of the US-56/77 roundabout.
- US-50 between Peabody and Florence, just west of the US-77 roundabout, near Dollar General in Peabody, and east of Nighthawk Rd.
- US-56 near Eagle, Falcon, Quail Creek, Mustang, Nighthawk, Remington, and Timber Rds.
- US-56/77 in the K-150 roundabout, north of the roundabout, and near 240th, 250th, and 300th Rds.
- US-77 near 130th, 140th, 150th, and 180th Rds. and half a mile north of the US-50 roundabout.
As accidents increasingly tied up tow trucks and plagued police starting around noon Saturday, deputy Bruce Burke, the sole sheriff’s deputy on patrol at the time, asked for help from Kansas Highway Patrol, from sheriff’s investigator Aaron Christner, and from undersheriff Larry Starkey.
“He was just busy,” Starkey said. “Sunday was a little bit better.”
Marion officer Peyton Heidebrecht and Hillsboro assistant chief Randy Brazil also volunteered Saturday as did Sheriff Jeff Soyez.
The most serious of the accidents appeared to be a semi-trailer carrying soda pop that rolled onto its side at 12:04 p.m. Saturday on US-77 near 140th Rd.
Florence and Marion rescue squads worked for nearly an hour to extricate the driver. He was taken to NMC Health, formerly Newton Medical Center, by Marion ambulance.
The driver, identified as Christopher Carron, 32, of Wichita, later was transferred with a suspected serious injury to Wesley Medical Center, Wichita, according to Kansas Highway Patrol.
Brazil said Hillsboro didn’t have many accidents over the weekend. Most of the accidents were merely slide-offs, he noted. Tabor being out and city crews doing a good job clearing streets helped.
“There was a hit and run on Main St., but that was not weather related,” Brazil said. “There really wasn’t a lot of traffic Saturday night, not even on US-56, but those who were out there were taking their chances.”
Reports from weather observers around the state indicated the heaviest snowfall statewide occurred in Marion, where 14.1 inches unofficially was reported.
A weather observer in Burns reported 13 inches, as did one five miles south of Hillsboro. A Peabody observer reported 8 inches. Wichita had 7.8 inches, which was a record for the date there.
Last modified Nov. 30, 2023