A traffic fatality on Interstate 80 in Hamilton County is being blamed on the weather.
The Nebraska State Patrol reports that 19-year-old Kristina Allen of Callaway died after an SUV crossed the median of I-80 near Giltner and struck her vehicle.
The patrol says that the driver of the SUV, Lindsay Schluntz of Kearney, survived the crash, uninjured.
The accident report states that Schluntz lost control of her SUV traveling east on I-80 due to slick pavement Wednesday afternoon. The SUV slid into the path of Allen’s car. Both vehicles landed in the north ditch.
Nebraska State Patrol Troop C Commander, Chris Kolb, says the fatality should serve as a warning to anyone driving today.
“The storm is not a surprise. It has been forecast for quite a while. It just emphasizes the need to evaluate, first of all, if you need to travel during these types of events and if it ends up that you do have to travel certainly you need to take extra precautions,” Kolb tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Forecasters expect as much as a foot of snow to fall today with at least four to eight inches blanketing much of the state.
Yet, Kolb says the fatal traffic crash is a reminder that it doesn’t make much snow to make traveling hazardous.
“Well, with the forecast certainly, it would be our advice to really evaluate the need to travel in the first place. As we discussed, the storm has been forecast and, really, if at all possible it’s just best to wait it out,” Kolb says.
Stranded motorists can call the patrol: Star-55 via cell phone or through 9-1-1.
Road conditions can be found at the 5-1-1 website maintained by the Nebraska Department of Roads.
AUDIO: Captain Chris Kolb, Troop C Commander, talks with Brent Martin about the snowstorm and the traffic fatality on I-80. [3:15]