Snow, ice make for slippery streets

A morning snowfall made roads slick and kept police busy with traffic accidents in and around the Tri-Cities on Saturday.

“It’s been accident after accident after accident all morning,” said Kennewick police Officer Shirrell Veitenheimer.

Kennewick reported 20 accidents on city streets. Accident information for Pasco and Richland wasn’t immediately available.

There were no reports of serious injuries. The accidents were mostly minor, often involving a car hitting a curb, a sign or a tree, Veitenheimer said.

City street crews began dropping sand on the roads as soon as the snow started falling after 6 a.m., she said. The crews also responded to problem spots as residents called in to report them, she said.

On the highways, Washington State Patrol responded to 25 collisions between 6:30 a.m. and 10 a.m.

A Richland woman, Patricia Lyon-Peak, 51, was taken to Kadlec Medical Center and released after her vehicle went off Highway 240 and rolled, the patrol said.

She was eastbound about 8:45 a.m. when the accident occurred, the patrol said, totaling her 1999 Ford Explorer. Lyon-Peak was cited for allegedly going too fast for conditions, the patrol said.

Troopers reported problem areas on Highway 240 from Edison Street to Columbia Center Boulevard and on Interstate 182 from Road 68 to Queensgate Drive.

“They’re not slowing down. They’re not adjusting their driving habits to what the road conditions are,” said Trooper Brian Bond.

Near Othello, four Kennewick residents were transported to a hospital after the driver lost control and their vehicle went off the road, the patrol said. The accident happened about 7:55 a.m. on Highway 17, about eight miles southeast of Othello.

The driver, Aziza Koko, 42, and three passengers — who reported bumps, bruises and sore backs — were taken to Othello Community Hospital and released. The 1999 Nissan Minivan they were riding in was totaled.The van was going too fast for conditions, the patrol reported.

The Tri-Cities had been under an air stagnation advisory for most of last week. But a weather system off the coast pushed out the still air and brought in the snow, said Roger Cloutier, forecaster for the National Weather Service in Pendleton.

— Joe Chapman: 582-1512; jchapman@tricityherald.com