At least nine people died in crashes across Dallas-Fort Worth from late Wednesday through Thursday as freezing rain coated the region in a thin layer of ice that turned roadways slick.
A pileup of around 100 vehicles on I-35W near downtown Fort Worth around 6:30 a.m. left six people dead and about 65 with injuries, authorities said. In Dallas, around 12:55 a.m., police said a man was driving at a high rate of speed in the 7700 block of I-45 when he lost control on the ice, swerving across four lanes of traffic, before his car rolled over a guardrail and into a light pole. He and a woman in the car were pronounced dead. A person in the backseat was critically injured.
Around 11:15 p.m. Wednesday, one man died in a pileup involving 18 vehicles in the 3900 block of I-45, where there was “a patch of ice that covered the entire service road,” police said. A vehicle lost control and went into the retaining wall, and then a second car stopped to help. The man who got out was struck by oncoming vehicles and pinned against a wall, police said. He was pronounced dead.
Arlington police reported there were 82 crashes between 10 p.m. Wednesday and 7:20 a.m. Thursday. That included one accident after midnight where a motorist crashed into an officer’s police car in the 6500 block of I-20W due to icy conditions, Chief Al Jones said on Twitter. The officer was outside, responding to a separate crash, and wasn’t struck, and the driver wasn’t injured.
MedStar responded to 19 crashes between midnight and 6 a.m., spokesman Matt Zavadsky said. He noted on Thursday the roads were “treacherous.”
Most of the Dallas-Fort Worth region had a tenth of an inch of ice on the ground by Thursday morning, though some pockets of Dallas and northern parts of Tarrant County had a quarter of an inch, according to Patricia Sanchez, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. That led to icy and dangerous conditions for the morning commute, Sanchez said, as temperatures hovered around the mid-20s.
She said the problems with ice were overall worse in areas farther north of DFW. But some areas of the metroplex were hit harder than others.
“There’s been some isolated, embedded stronger stuff that’s been producing those higher amounts of ice accumulation,” Sanchez said on Thursday morning.
DriveTexas.org showed several roads across the DFW region were hit with ice on Thursday. By the late afternoon, most of the roadways that were still impacted by ice accumulation were east of Dallas, in areas like Mesquite and Terrell, according to the website. Travel was discouraged on several highways, such as I-20, FM3039 and FM740.
The forecast of ice on Wednesday evening led schools across DFW to cancel classes or move classes online in anticipation of the inclimate weather.