By Victor O'Brien
Killeen Daily Herald
A rare snow Friday delivered slick, icy roads that caused several early morning accidents, including one that took the life of a 9-year-old girl and injured her mother.
Layne Balogh was pronounced dead by physicians at 8:25 a.m. and by Justice of the Peace Bill Cooke at 9:15 a.m. after being taken to Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center on Fort Hood, a news release stated. Her 42-year-old mother was believed to have non-life-threatening injuries, Killeen Police Department spokeswoman Carroll Smith said.
Cooke ordered an autopsy at the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Science in Dallas.
Killeen police responded to a report of an accident at the bridge in the 100 block of South Twin Creek Drive.
The preliminary investigation revealed that two cars were traveling southbound on the outside lane of Twin Creek Drive at about 7:40 a.m. when a 2001 Suzuki XL7, occupied by a 42-year-old woman and her 9-year-old daughter, hit a patch of ice while switching to the inside lane at the bridge.
The driver lost control, and the Suzuki spun backward into oncoming traffic and collided with a Chevrolet Silverado dually pickup truck traveling north in the inside lane, according to the news release.
The pickup collided with the back corner of the Suzuki, which caused the Suzuki to crash into the bridge. The driver side door of the Kia was sideswiped by the pickup truck, the news release stated.
The Suzuki's occupants were transported to Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center.
Three of the five males in the pickup truck, all from San Antonio, were taken to Metroplex Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The Kia's occupants were not injured, the news release stated.
The accident blocked traffic along Twin Creek for several hours, Smith said.
Weather-related accidents kept local law enforcement busy Friday.
Smith said Killeen police responded to accidents on nearly all the overpasses, which happened when the icy roads started to thaw.
"The problem that we had was, they (the roads) weren't slick until the sun came out and started melting the snow. Then the below-freezing weather came and froze it (the water) on top of the overpasses."
Smith confirmed accidents in Killeen with minor or no injuries along State Highway 201 and Stan Schlueter Loop.
Harker Heights police also reported a one-car accident at 7:47 a.m. on the bridge located on Farm-to-Market 3219 just north of Veterans Memorial Boulevard.
A Ford Ranger slid on the ice on FM 3219 and then hit the bridge's guardrail. The driver sustained no injuries, but the vehicle was totaled, a Harker Heights officer said.
The HHPD also reported assisting in a three-car accident at the Edwards Ramp in Nolanville just after 7 a.m.
Icy roads can be treacherous for drivers, especially in areas such as Killeen where many drivers may not be accustomed to adapting to altered road conditions.
"It provides less friction, so the surface is smoother, so that's going to be more dangerous to drive, when there is ice on the road," said Troy Marshall, a National Weather Service meteorological technician. "It's more difficult to stop and maneuver your vehicle ... so basically, you slide in the vehicle instead of stopping. It will definitely require more distance coming to a stop than you normally would."
Snowfall was reported between 4 and 5 a.m. Friday, while the temperature hovered around 32 degrees, Marshall said.
The weather system that caused the snow had moved off to the east by Friday evening, Marshall said.
Warmer weather and possible thunderstorms are in the weekend forecast.
Today is expected to be sunny with lows in the upper 40s and highs in the lower 60s, Marshall said. Sunday is expected to be in the lower 50s and mostly cloudy heading into the nighttime hours with a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms and showers.
Contact Victor O'Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (254) 501-7468