Officials report increase in vehicle crashes

Keri Thornton, Tahlequah Daily Press, Okla.
·2 min read

Feb. 20—Local law enforcement officials reported a high number of vehicle crashes due to the large amount of ice and snow over the last several days.

Cherokee County Sheriff Jason Chennault said deputies responded to dozens of calls for vehicle crashes, motorist assists, and abandoned vehicles.

Tahlequah Police Chief Nate King stated there were six crashes officers responded to and 26 motorist assists since Feb. 9.

No major injuries nor deaths were reported from Chennault or King.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol stated they responded to 1,163 motorist assists between Saturday, Feb. 13, through Thursday, Feb. 18. OHP troopers worked one fatality crash, 91 injury crashes, and 286 non-injury crashes.

City Street Department Superintendent William "Buddy" Harris said everything refroze Friday morning.

"We are back at it and will stay on it until 6 p.m. this evening when it freezes back," said Harris on Friday.

District 2 County Commissioner Chris Jenkins said the snow-packed roadways were melting Friday afternoon when temperatures reached 31 degrees.

"Some [side roads] still have snow, but it's melting good," said Jenkins.

District 3 Commissioner Clif Hall said major roadways in his district were clearing.

As of Friday afternoon, Dry Creek was without water, although drinking water was available at the Community building.

Keys Volunteer Fire Department said Cherokee Nation provided the station with a limited supply of bottled water, milk, and dinners for those in need. They began distributing those items Thursday afternoon.

Cherokee County Emergency Management Director Mike Underwood said Tahlequah and surrounding areas received close to 7 inches of snow over the course of three days.

As warmer temperatures are expected throughout the weekend, officials say it's a relief to see the ice and snow melt.

According to the National Weather Service, wind chill values will be around zero degrees to the lower teens early Saturday morning.

"Conditions should warm quickly during the day with increasing southerly winds and high temps in the 40s forecast," NWS said.