Interstate 20 Dangerous To East Texas Drivers - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/17/06-Gregg & Smith Counties

Interstate 20 Dangerous To East Texas Drivers

Wednesday roads in parts of East Texas were treacherous and DPS Troopers were busy all day long along the most dangerous stretch of interstate in East Texas.  Sleet, freezing rain and ice coated Interstate 20 from Smith to Gregg Counties, causing more than a dozen highway accidents.  DPS Troopers say it's because people are simply not slowing down in these wintry conditions.

Car accidents were the scene along Interstate 20 running through East Texas. It's a bad mix between speed and icy roads.

"People are coming over that hill, hitting ice, going 70," says one Trooper.

And in a wreck along I-20 in Longview, an 18 wheeler jack-knifed to avoid another 18 wheeler and hit a car involved in an earlier accident. 

"Most of the people in our area are not accustomed to driving in foul weather like this, and fail to just reduce that speed and drive more cautiously and safely," says Captain Ken Hartley, with the Gregg County Sheriff's Office.

Especially when handfuls of ice and sleet blanket the highway. So much so, crews are working through the morning to sand overpasses and bridges.

"Our guys have been out working the roads the best they can. Working the calls when they get them and we are doing a good job so far," says Larry Krantz, spokesperson for TxDOT.

Even truck drivers are pulling over, waiting it out, after seeing cars slip and slide along the interstate. 

"I refuse to drive on the ice because it's dangerous...I pull over because ice and stuff, and we can't control so we just pull over," says truck driver Larry Holman.

So take some advice from Phyllis Westerman, who had to spend the night in her car.

"Do not drive past 10pm, and if it's bad, stay in your motel or stay home," she says.

Or at least avoid I-20 if you can.  That way your car doesn't end up in an accident.

In Smith County, Wednesday, there were 11 accidents just along I-20 and in Gregg County there were 12.

Tracy Watler/Reporting:

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