ROGERSVILLE — Emergency personnel responded to 42 accidents in Hawkins County Thursday morning related to the “black ice” that surprised morning commuters across the region, but only four of those incidents resulted in injuries and they were minor.
Hawkins County Emergency Management Agency director Gary Murrell told the Times-News that Central Dispatch began receiving calls about ice-related accidents at about 6:30 a.m. and received the last call shortly before noon.
Wreckers were still pulling vehicles out of ditches well into the afternoon, however.
“The majority of the accidents were on Highway 11-W, Burem Road, and Route 70-S — people on their way to work who just hit that ice and didn’t realize it was there until it was too late,” Murrell said. “You’re just driving on a wet road and all of a sudden it’s solid ice. It caught people by surprise.”
Murrell added, “The weather services issued the warnings early this morning, and most everybody was in bed, got up and went to (work) without seeing the warnings.”
On several occasions emergency responders, and/or police stopped to assist at one accident and another happened right in front of them.
“I was on one like that on 11-W at Caney Creek Bridge,” Murrell said. “Lt. Larkins with the sheriff’s department was working a wreck on Burem Road, and he had three more happen right there in front of him. We had officers on Route 70-S, and people were doing the same thing. They were trying to slow down to keep from getting into the mess and just sliding off the road.”
With regard to the accidents with injuries, Murrell said everyone involved was treated, either at the scene by EMS or at the hospital, and then released.