Icy Roads Cause Wrecks, Delay Schools in Central Texas - kcentv.com - KCEN HD - Waco, Temple, and Killeen

Icy Roads Cause Wrecks, Delay Schools in Central Texas

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It was a cold, icy start to the day for Bell County Tuesday. 

TxDOT was out early spreading sand on bridges and overpasses, but it wasn't enough to keep people from sliding around a lot.

There was ice everywhere: coating bushes, caked onto cars, and worse, covering roads throughout the area.

Driving in from Killeen, Harvey Matthews saw SW H.K. Dodgen Loop in Temple was a sheet of ice.

"It was the whole road," he said. "All coming down getting on the loop was icy, and when I exited here, I was like, 'Oh boy.'"

Another driver, Terrence Monroe, slid into Matthews' car as he tried to leave the shopping center in front of the Lowe's.

"So I turned into the swerve and luckily it was just this and just a little tap," Monroe said, showing us the dent he got in his door as he fish-tailed slightly into Matthews' front bumper.

TxDOT hit the roads hours before, at midnight, with sand.

"We've had plenty of warning, you know, for them to be out there with the sand trucks," said George Dunn of Temple, adding he thought they could be doing more.

But it was so cold, the roads refroze overtop of the grit.

"All these overpasses, there's so many, that it's treacherous right now. It's treacherous to try to be out," Lt. Brad Hunt with the Temple Police Department said early Tuesday morning.

Temple Police even closed down the entrance to the Loop bridge over I-35 at mile 300.

Conditions were even more dangerous in the areas that TxDOT wasn't taking care of. Parking lots, for instance, were ice rinks.

Things started to improve toward the end of the morning commute.

By 9 a.m. Highway 190 through Belton was drying out.  But it was little consolation for the drivers out early.

"Take your time, take your time," Monroe said with a laugh. "That's all I can say is take your time."

"I've already seen two accidents here since I've had an accident," added Matthews.

The Department of Public Safety handled about two dozen accidents in Bell County Tuesday morning, and that's not including any inside city limits.

"When I got up at 6:15," said Louise Pratt of Troy, "it was icy and kind of bad."

Pratt takes her grandkids to school every day. She was happy to see a delayed start for Troy ISD.

"I don't care how safe you are," she said. "It's the other people that you have to worry about."

At least 17 schools and districts in central Texas delayed their starts. Florence and Holland schools canceled altogether. 

Temple, Belton, and Killeen police each saw a handful of accidents.

"[Highway] 190 was backed up going up the hill and everybody slamming on their brakes," Monroe said.

"And I happened to be ... crossing one of the bridges, and I fish-tailed and I let off until I got off the black ice," said Matthews.

Despite the ice that closed down some neighborhood roads, Temple ISD held classes at the normal time.

"The City of Temple, we looked at what they're doing, are they going to have a delay in the city, the answer's no. We look at Bell County," said Scott Moger, an assistant superintendent at TISD who helped make the decision.

Belton schools didn't delay, either; ditto Killeen.

Some viewers took to Facebook to show their shock: Janet wrote on my Facebook page she couldn't believe they didn't delay the school day.

Trisha wrote on the KCEN page she stayed home with her granddaughter anyway.

"Four o'clock in the morning, they're out looking at bridges," Moger said of the district's transportation department.

By 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, Belton and Temple ISDs had both decided to have normal classes.

By mid morning, the sun was shining, and the streets were finally starting to dry out. But the bitter wind was still blowing, and we still found plenty of ice where there is moisture.

Those who did get a delay welcomed it.

"It was kind of nice," said Ashlie Clark, a mom taking her children to school in Troy. "I got to spend some time with my kids this morning"

"Well, you know, that's up to them [if they don't want to delay], but to me, when it's my grandkids or kids out there on that road, I want them to be safe," Pratt said.

The districts that opened on time maintained their kids were never unsafe.

And with even colder weather on tap for Wednesday, any moisture still left was expected to re-freeze.

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