One person has died, hundreds of motorists have been rescued as a spring blizzard snarled traffic and shut down Interstate 80 in western Nebraska.
The Nebraska State Patrol reports 61-year-old Rollo Ward of Idaho Falls, Idaho lost control of his semi tractor-trailer on I-80 near miles marker 84 while driving east Friday. The truck slid into the median and struck a stranded semi. Ward was pronounced dead at the scene.
State troopers working with the Cheyenne County Sheriff’s Office, Sidney Police Department, Sidney Public Schools, Cheyenne County Emergency Management, the Nebraska Department of Transportation, and others, worked Friday to clear all of the stranded vehicles.
In total, more than 100 motorists were rescued.
NSP says two areas near Sidney caused major problems. One section on I-80 stretched for more than a mile and a half. Sidney Public Schools offered buses to assist in the rescue, which were escorted to the scene by patrol vehicles and snow plows.
Law enforcement officers went car to car, knocking on the windows of all of the vehicles, rescuing the occupants from freezing temperatures. Officers took those rescued to Light Memorial Presbyterian Church in Sidney or to a hotel.
In addition, stranded motorists made more than 80 calls for assistance during the storm.
NSP reminds stranded drivers to call *55 to reach the NSP Highway Helpline.
NSP reports road conditions remain poor to impassible in may parts of central to western Nebraska. I-80 remains closed to westbound traffic from Grand Island to the Wyoming state line. Eastbound I-80 is closed from the Wyoming state line to Ogallala.
Keep up-to-date on other road closures by calling 511, visiting 511.Nebraska.gov, or by downloading the 511 smartphone app.