Fairfield Ledger
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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Jun 24, 2018

Two-vehicle accident reported on Highway 34 with minor injury

By Vicki Tillis, Ledger lifestyles editor | Jan 04, 2018

Blowing snow kicked up by a snowplow contributed to a two-vehicle accident reported at 1:44 p.m. Dec. 28 on Highway 34, about 0.5 mile east of the 212 exit.

According to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office report, Melissa Anne Henkel, 32, of Mt. Pleasant, was driving a 2016 Ford F150 Supercrew pickup west, followed by Richard Joseph Parmeter, 68, of Keokuk in a 2013 Chevy Cruze LS.

As the two vehicles approached a snowplow clearing the right-side lane, blowing snow from the plow caused whiteout conditions. Henkel slowed, but Parameter was unable to slow before his vehicle struck the rear of Henkel’s pickup.

Parmeter’s vehicle suffered severe front-end damage and the air bags were deployed. It stopped in the left-side lane of traffic.

Henkel’s pickup suffered minor rear-end damage and stopped in the right-hand side ditch.

Parmeter was transported by ambulance to Jefferson County Health Center for suspected minor injuries.

The Iowa Department of Transportation gives these tips for safe travel around snowplows:

• Don’t crowd the plow. Maintenance vehicles plow far and wide — sometimes very wide. The front plow extends several feet in front of the truck and can cross the centerline and shoulders during plowing operations.

• Don’t tailgate or stop too close behind snowplows. Snowplows are usually spreading de-icing materials from the back of the truck. They might need to stop or take evasive action to avoid stranded vehicles. If you find yourself behind a snowplow, stay behind it or use caution when passing. The road behind a snowplow will be safer to drive on.

• Watch for snowplows operating in either lane of travel or in tandem.

• Don’t travel beside a plow for long periods. When plowing through a snowdrift or packed snow, the impact can move the truck sideways.

• Snowplows can create a cloud of snow that can reduce your visibility to zero in less time than you can react. Drive smart. Never drive into a snow cloud — it could conceal a snowplow.

• Snowplows travel much slower than the posted speeds while removing snow and ice from the roads. When you spot a plow, allow plenty of time to slow down.

• A snowplow operator’s field of vision is restricted. You might see them, but they might not see you.

• Plows turn and exit the road frequently. Give them plenty of room.

For more information about winter travel, visit the Iowa D.O.T.’s website at www.iowadot.gov.

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