Ohio fatality reported after car crashed into snow plow during winter storm

by DAN SEWELL | Associated Press Published:

Cincinnati -- Ohio drivers picked their way around slick spots left by a winter storm last week that brought double-digit snowfall to some areas and was blamed for one death.

Jessica Galley, of Mason, was killed Dec. 26 when she lost control of her car on southbound Interstate 71 near Cincinnati, drove across the median and crashed into a northbound Ohio Department of Transportation snow plow, the Hamilton County sheriff's office said. The snow plow driver wasn't injured.

Southbound I-75 just north of Cincinnati was closed more than 12 hours after a tractor-trailer crashed Dec. 26 in a construction area. Traffic was diverted east Dec. 27 via connectors to I-71 until I-75 was cleared. There were temporary lane closures on other interstates Dec. 26, but traffic on most major highways was running smoothly across the state by the morning of Dec. 27.

Department of Transportation snow plow crews were still working on roads where blowing and drifting snow accumulated, and also clearing snow piles from shoulders and medians.

The biggest problems Dec. 27 were slushy buildups and wind-whipped snow covering side roads. In Darke County, in western Ohio, the snow emergency level was lowered from the highest level 3, but authorities urged drivers to use caution. The sheriff's office had approved emergency traffic only during the storm after numerous cars slid off roads and got stuck in drifts.

Some of the state's heaviest snowfalls were in western counties and in the northeast near Lake Erie that got 8 to 10 inches.

In Bellefontaine, which reported a foot of snow in some areas, Pat Leslie was enjoying being retired after helping run a truck stop for years, saying: "I stayed inside and looked out the window at the snow."

There were also scores of grounded flights in Ohio airports Dec. 26, and airport sites showed scattered cancellations and delays continued Dec. 27.

The storm system was linked to 12 deaths, tornadoes in the Gulf Coast region, a record snowfall in Arkansas and disruptions in holiday week travel was pushing through the Northeast U.S. late last week.

Contact the reporter at http://www.twitter.com/dansewell

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