This past week we had a couple of times when the weather warmed up just enough for it to rain and then overnight the temperature would dip below freezing and every sidewalk and parking lot and many of our side streets turned into virtual skating rinks due to the thin ice covering. Within a few hours, the surface warmed up to turn the thin coating of ice to water, but in the interim we did have a few minor traffic crashes from vehicles sliding into each other and things (like mailboxes) along the side of the roadway.
What most people don’t realize (and this seems counterintuitive) is that some of our most serious traffic crashes happen during the winter when the roadway surfaces are actually in good driving condition.
Both our local (Lakeville and Dakota County) street maintenance crews and our State of Minnesota MnDOT roadway crews are great at keeping our roadways in good driving condition most of the time during the winter, regardless of how challenging the weather conditions get. The road crews will often come out and pre-treat the roadways with ice melting chemicals when there is a forecast of a mixed freezing rain and snow event.
Officers are aware that serious traffic crashes are caused by a number of factors other than weather, with the number one factor being impaired driving. This past weekend, Officer Nic Stevens and Officer Sandy Thoeny responded to a personal injury crash on Dodd Boulevard and Glacier Way. Two of the victims in the car that was struck in the intersection as well as the driver of the vehicle that failed to stop at a stop sign were taken to the hospital by ambulance. The responding officers found that the driver responsible for failing to stop at a stop sign in the crash appeared to be under the influence of alcohol. A portable breath test administered to the driver revealed an alcohol level of over three times the legal limit. The case has been forwarded to the prosecuting attorney for DUI and multiple traffic violation charges on the driver. By the way, the time of this call: 9:51 am on Sunday morning.
PICKUP TRUCK PLOWING SNOW BURNS UP
Officer Sarah Parr responded to a report of a vehicle fire in a parking lot one evening this week. Upon arriving in the parking lot, Officer Parr observed an unoccupied pickup truck with a plow on the front, fully engulfed in flames.
Officer Parr interviewed the driver of the burning truck and learned that he was plowing the parking lot after a snowfall and had exited the truck to go inside the building. When he returned to the pickup truck, there was smoke pouring out of the vents into the cab from the engine compartment.
The driver quickly opened the hood to the pickup and found the engine compartment filled with fire. The driver tried to extinguish the fire with snow, but the fire was too intense.
Lakeville Fire Department units quickly put out the fire after they arrived on the scene. The pickup was a total loss.
WEEKLY LPD SNAPSHOT
Sampling of LPD activity for the week of Jan. 25 to Feb. 1, 2013
Traffic crashes: 11 Alarms: 22 Animal Calls: 17 Medical Emergency Calls: 31 Thefts: 15 Traffic Stops: 167.