One semi-trucker rollover a shift is enough to keep firefighters busy, let alone five in one day.
Wind gusts, blowing snow, cold temperatures and icy road conditions are being partly to blame for the three rollovers and two jackknifed semi-trucks on 1-90 and other roadways in Campbell County, with three in less than two hours between 10 a.m. and noon.
Nobody was seriously injured in any of the crashes.
It was the most that Bryan Borgialli, Battalion Chief for the Campbell County Fire Department, had ever been on in one day.
“The roads were nothing but a sheet of ice,” Borgialli told Cowboy State Daily Thursday. “Probably some of the worst roads we’ve ever been on.”
He almost got hit on one of the calls when a car came speeding over the hill and braked too abruptly when they saw the flashing lights. He’s been hit once already in the same conditions, he said, when he first joined the force 19 years ago.
“I didn’t need to do that again,” he said.
The icy road conditions also slowed them down as well to speeds between 40 to 50 mph as they attempted to attend to the accidents.
Two of the wrecks occurred on 1-90 near Gillette while the others were on South Highway 59 and Highway 50, the latter of which forced the roadway closed for several hours to clear one semi that had jackknifed around noon.
He’s not a crash expert, he said, but thought that the accidents had more to do with traveling at low speeds and being tipped over.
“The roads were treacherous but pretty deceiving,” he said, especially given last week’s temperate weather that he thinks tends to make people more complacent this time of year.
That and overestimating the road conditions.
“People should make the decision if they really need to travel or not,” he said. And if so, he urged drivers to reduce their speed and be on the lookout for emergency vehicles.