Traverse City Record-Eagle


January 15, 2014

Snow snarls GT roads

TRAVERSE CITY — Buckle up, there's more snow on the horizon.

A storm that struck the Traverse City area during Tuesday's rush hour snarled traffic to a standstill, frustrated commuters and plow truck drivers alike and led to dozens of minor traffic crashes, including two that involved school buses.

And this afternoon looked like more of the same.

Mike Boguth, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Gaylord office, said motorists took to the roads about the same time an "Alberta clipper" — a low pressure system from Canada — started to dump between 6 and 10 inches of heavy snow across Grand Traverse County.

"Most of the time they do not generate the amount of snow that it did," he said. "This one that came through was pretty unique in terms of the snow that it brought with it."

Grand Traverse County sheriff's Capt. Chris Clark said about 35 crashes coincided with the storm's arrival, along with 25 other traffic-related incidents that required deputies' attention. Two school buses were involved in separate crashes about an hour apart. No injuries were reported in either crash.

At 3:37 p.m. a Dean Transportation bus carrying six Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District students slid down a slippery hill on Church Road, through the intersection with North Long Lake Road and into a car. Mike Hill, TBAISD's superintendent, said parents were immediately notified.

"The accident was a concern and we're thankful that all students and staff are safe," he said.

Kellie Dean, president and owner of Dean Transportation, said the bus driver was at-fault, but officers noted the slick road conditions. He said the driver will undergo an advanced defensive driving program.

"We believe the driver did everything she could do at that time," Dean said. "It was just a matter of bad road conditions coming up very quickly."

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