Lots of mishaps, but no weather injuries

Despite the mounds of snow and slush and sheets of ice that blanketed South Kitsap Tuesday and Wednesday, the area managed to make it through with few to no serious problems.

In fact, out of 32 accidents in South Kitsap reported to the Washington State Patrol and the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Department, absolutely none resulted in significant injury. This was surprising to law enforcement officials, especially since many of the accidents involved rollovers and the like.

“We’re very fortunate to have this many accidents and not any injuries,” said State Patrol spokesman Glen Tyrrell.

The total accidents reported for the period, at least those involving the State Patrol, constituted three times the estimated average for a weekday. Nevertheless, Tyrrell said, the amounts were well in line with what the department expected to see for storm conditions. In fact, he expects dozens of other accidents occurred but were not reported for various weekends.

Sheriff’s Office spokesman Deputy Scott Wilson said his department recorded 14 such unreported accidents — mostly crashes deputies stumbled upon while on patrol. Tyrrell said the State Patrol doesn’t keep records of such incidents, but said it’s standard policy to have troopers sit at locations that have attracted crashes in the past — usually it’s only a matter of time before another one hits.

“They’d be on scene and three or four cars would come up behind them and slide off the road,” Tyrrell said. “Our troops drove onto numerous more vehicles than are listed here.”

Tyrrell said the accident clustering effect is usually due to a particularly slippery or hazardous patch of roadway that’s hard to see until a driver is on top of it. In addition, accidents can sometimes spawn other crashes as passing vehicles try to work their way around the scene and slide off the roadway in the process.

Tyrrell credited the smarts of drivers and passengers — who buckled up before setting out — and the quick response of area towing companies with helping to ward off what could have been a full-scale weather disaster.

“All things considered, not too bad,” Tyrrell said. “The potential (for chaos) was phenomenal, but the community responded.”

The Sheriff’s deputies experienced similar examples of common-sense decision-making on the roads. Between 6 a.m. Tuesday and 6 a.m. Thursday, deputies in South Kitsap only pulled over 15 vehicles for traffic infractions and wrote only a single ticket. Many of the road complaints centered around over-enthusiastic sledders tying up traffic, although there were a few reports of reckless driving.

In addition, deputies only arrested one person for drunk driving.

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