January 31, 2013

Ice causes many wrecks

Power outage reported in Bush community

By Magen McCrarey
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — While ice pelted Laurel County streets and country roads Friday morning, London Laurel County 9-1-1 Dispatch received 335 incoming calls and law enforcement tended to multiple single-vehicle due to the inclement weather.

"We had a lot of vehicles that slid off the roadway into ditch lines, and all wrecker companies were out pulling," said Captain Derek House of London Police.  

Twenty-two wreckers in total were out during the storm Friday.

London Police had 13 officers out on the road responding to 14 accidents within city limits.  Two out of 14 accidents involved minor injuries.

Kentucky State Police responded to 34 accidents, and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement responded to 10 accidents.

Steve Douglas with the KSP Commercial Vehicle Enforcement said his department was out assisting motorists during Friday's icy storm, although there were no reports of any major injuries.

"I'm sure there were more incident than we recorded — fender benders, people getting stuck and other things along those lines," he said. "But we were definitely overwhelmed there for a while."

Douglas also said the Rest Haven and truck stops along the Interstate exits were full.

"Some (tractor-trailers) waited it out but many stayed out on the road."

Jackson Energy Cooperative reported a power outage for 20 customers in the Bush Community.  The outage began at 9:15 a.m. and lasted until 1:30 p.m.

"A tree had fallen on a line and broken a pole.  Fortunately, the weather didn't cause a lot of outages. We were able to handle it with our normal work crew," said Karen Combs, director of Public Relations.

Laurel County ranked third in damage for Jackson Energy, following behind Jackson County with 90 customers without power and Clay County with 80.

The National Weather Service reported that the January freeze was not an uncommon event for mid-winter in southeastern Kentucky.  Although climatological records stretching back over 100 years indicated that there has not been a major widespread cold air outbreak since the mid 1990s, where temperatures reached below zero.