Snow smacks area; accidents multiply

The weathermen started out saying it would be scattered flurries. The next thing we knew, central Nebraska was in an all out weather watch, and the snows came, and so did the wind. For two days, emergency personnel answered the calls. “There were so many accidents, we wouldn’t even get one completed before the call came to answer another,” said Custer County Sheriff Dan Osmond. And it wasn’t a staffing issue, everyone on call Tuesday was working. “It usually takes one good storm for folks to remember how to drive in the snow. This last week I think they started all over.” Custer County emergency personnel responded to 11 vehicle accidents Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, three with injuries. “This doesn’t count the cars that just slid off the road, or got stuck in the snow,” Osmond noted. “Most of these weren’t even called in.” The new sheriff does have a request. “People need to slow down and pay attention. That seemed to be the main issue,” said Osmond. While driving to one of the accidents, Osmond said a vehicle passed him doing 60 mph or more. “I was the one in a hurry when the conditions weren’t good and you had someone driving faster than the law, and they weren’t an emergency responder,” he said. *Emergency personnel respond to three accidents with injuries The first of the accidents with injuries happened around 6:45 Wednesday morning. Roger Sloan was driving south on the Gates Road eight miles north of Broken Bow when his vehicle, a 1996 GMC Jimmy, slid off the road and went into the ditch. The vehicle rolled one and a half times with the vehicle coming to a rest on the passenger side. Sloan and his passenger, Tina Sloan, were wearing their seat belts at the time of the accident. They were transported by Broken Bow Emergency Services. At around noon, Alicia Hermsmeyer was driving east on State Highway 70, 4.3 miles east of Broken Bow when her vehicle, a 2003 Buick Rendezvous SUV was struck by a 1997 Dodge Sedan driving by Nathaniel Barker. According to the accident report, Barker said he could not see because of the blowing snow caused by other vehicles. Barker was transported to Jennie M. Melham Medical Center in Broken Bow by Broken Bow emergency services. The third accident that same day, occurred on State Highway 2, two miles west of Ansley. A 2007 Peterbilt semi had vehicle problems and had stopped in the road. A 1995 Ford Windstar minivan driven by Shawn Derr ran into the back end of the semi. Both Derr and her passenger, Bryan Flaming were transported to Jennie M. Melham Medical Center by Ansley Rescue. Derr was later life-flighted to Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney. Neither were wearing seat belts at the time of the accident. The driver of the semi, Bobby Grave, was not injured. The visibility at times Wednesday was down to nothing, noted Osmond. “You can be the most careful driver on the road, but it is the other guy you have to worry about,” said Osmond. “It goes back to having patience. In Custer County the most you will save if you drive too fast is a couple of minutes. People lose sight of that,” he said. Osmond has an additional request. When there is an accident, it’s easy to get caught up in what is going on. Drivers have a tendency to get focused on the accident instead of what they are doing. He asks that everyone pay attention, slow down, and drive carefully. “It takes only three seconds to put on s seat belt. Just make it a habit every time you get into a vehicle.”