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Wendy Reuer, Published December 26 2012

Icy roads lead to crashes throughout region

FARGO – The icy roads that took many drivers by surprise Wednesday morning were a factor in multiple crashes across eastern North Dakota and west-central Minnesota.

Authorities on both sides of the river reported more than a dozen accidents, including one involving a North Dakota Highway Patrol vehicle.

According to the patrol, their vehicle was struck while parked on the median shoulder of Interstate 94 near Fargo by 17-year-old Stephen Howlett of Mapleton.

Howlett was westbound on I-94 when he lost control of the 2003 Suburban he was driving and struck the 2010 Ford Expedition driven by Trooper William Brown, 33, who was parked on the shoulder tending to another accident.

The lights of the patrol car were on.

Howlett and Brown were not injured. The squad car sustained about $2,000 in damage, according to

the patrol.

Highway Patrol Capt. Brian Niewind said eight crashes were reported in the Fargo metro area between 7:30 and 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. None of the crashes involved injuries, he said.

Niewind said the roads were icy from about a half- inch of morning snowfall, and speed was a factor in many of the crashes.

“People just aren’t slowing down; they lose control,” he said.

Highway Patrol Sgt. Josh Rude said roads were icy from Jamestown to Fargo. Three non-injury crashes occurred in the Valley City area Wednesday morning, he said.

Sgt. Jesse Grabow with the Minnesota State Patrol said four crashes occurred in the area Wednesday.

Most were property damage crashes, and one involved minor injuries. Nine other vehicles slid off the road, he said.

“There are just a few slick spots; otherwise the roads are in pretty fair shape,” Grabow said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530