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Weather disrupts morning commute
Snow, rapid temperature drop cause problems
A school bus passes two fire trucks blocking the eastbound lanes of an ice-covered section of Hwy. 20 after a head-on crash Thursday near Aaron Sosebee Road. - photo by Jim Dean


Unlike the heavy snowfall last month, the overnight snow was light.

Its impact on travel, however, was anything but that Thursday morning.

Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Tim House said deputies and emergency personnel handled “multiple wrecks all over the county.”

“Initially, the early hours were the north end, and then as temperature dropped right at daybreak, we started getting calls in the south end as well,” House said.

“The largest one we had was up on Hwy. 306, where we had 10 vehicles involved.”

Between the first call at 5:33 a.m. Thursday and continuing until 11 a.m., the sheriff’s office responded to 63 wrecks.

About 10 of the crashes involved injuries, though none were considered life threatening.

The heaviest flow of calls came between 6 and 10 a.m., said Forsyth County Fire Capt. Jason Shivers, adding that Hwy. 20 seemed to be the dividing line.

“From Hwy. 20 north, it certainly was a busier area than the southern end of the county, and in fact Hwy. 20 itself had quite a few accidents occur on it to the west of Cumming,” he said.

The fire department handled nearly a dozen incidents, including two where motorists were trapped inside vehicles.

A woman and her young child were stuck when their car overturned after a two-vehicle wreck about 6:50 a.m. off Canton Hwy.

“The child sustained minor injuries because it was properly strapped into ... the car seat. It did its job,” Shivers said.

The woman, who suffered what Shivers described as “several injuries to her lower extremities," was taken to Northside Hospital-Forsyth.

A second entrapment, which involved a pregnant woman, occurred about 8:20 a.m. on Julian Road.

She was taken to North Fulton Hospital with moderate injuries, Shivers said.

He said the department responded to five other medical emergencies, a couple of which were falls on ice.

It was an early Thursday morning for Bruce Wagar, director of school safety for the local school system.

By 4:30 a.m. he had received reports that just one area of the county had ice on the roads. And that situation was to be addressed before school buses set out.

An hour later, Wagar and other school officials made the call to hold a normal school day.

“Unfortunately around 6 a.m., the temperature dropped by about six degrees and there was a thin patch of ice on some of the roadways,” said Jennifer Caracciolo, system spokeswoman.

“We had to make the call prior to 5:30 a.m., so time was really a factor.”

Caracciolo said the system called neighboring school districts, none of which had decided to cancel or delay school Thursday.

“We received approximately 30 e-mails and calls from the northern part of the county with concerns, but we received more than that from the southern part of the county thanking us for not closing school or doing a delay,” she said.

“All of our buses got safely to school.”