SALEM, OR -- Nearly the entire state saw winter weather, this weekend. Oregon State Police had trouble responding to all of the problems. Capt. Bill Fugate says, "By midday Sunday, we had responded to over 750 traffic incidents. Those included traffic crashes, hazards, disabled vehicles; those were statewide numbers." Nearly 400 of those calls for service were traffic accidents.
He says most of those crashes were caused by drivers going too fast for the conditions, "A lot of people think that since the speed limit is 55, let’s say, that driving 55 is acceptable in this weather. But, really it’s not. Reduce your speed down to half that with plenty of following distance." And, he asks that drivers, "Know what the traction chain requirements are and just be ready to take your time."
There was freezing rain in the Willamette Valley and heavy snow and sleet in Central, Southern and Eastern Oregon. Severe weather and crashes shut down some highways across the state, Saturday and Sunday. A semi vs. vehicle crash closed Highway 97 north of La Pine for several hours, Sunday afternoon.