By Katie Herrera
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The freezing rain made an icy mess on the roadways Wednesday morning. By the afternoon, Alabama State Troopers reported at least 30 wrecks and expected that number to increase once reports from non-serious crashes are turned in.
Troopers went into their Emergency Weather Plan, meaning one-car crashes were simply given SR-13 forms to fill out so that efforts could be focused on multiple-car wrecks and crashes involving injuries.
"We're still working them as fast as we can. There's still ice on these bridges. We're still encouraging everybody to please drive cautiously," said Corporal Steve Smith.
Smith said even with extra troopers on the roads for the holiday blitz, they were all out working wrecks Wednesday morning.
"The ABI was out this morning working. Motor carrier safety and drivers license folks were out. Everybody was out working crashes this morning," explained Smith.
Smith said there were several crashes in the Corridor-X and US-78 area, I-65 around the Cullman area and Tuscaloosa along I-20 and I-59.
In Birmingham, the most dangerous area was the 459 and I-20 interchange, where at one point, three cars crashed one after the other.
One driver hit a patch of ice and crashed. Then while the driver was retrieving items from his car, a truck came crashing in. Then a third car hit the same patch of ice and crashed into the two vehicles. The truck driver was airlifted in serious but non-life threatening conditions.
"These crashes were just coming in at a rapid pace, and we were responding to them as quickly as we could," said Smith.
In Lowndes County, an accident was fatal for one paramedic after a car crashed into his ambulance while he was out working a wreck.
There was also one fatality in Tuscaloosa.
It was serious conditions that could sneak up anyone.
"It's been kind of scary, you know. You got ice on the ground, so I've just been driving with caution. My back tire was slipping in the ice, so I've just been taking my time, driving slowly," said Deonta Frazier, driving in Homewood.
"I'll get my daughter and go home. Then I'll pretty much stay off the roads for the rest of the day," said Nicki Lovelady, driving from Montevallo.
Alabama State Troopers advise drivers to stay off the roads if at all possible. Otherwise, take caution driving over bridges and overpasses, do not use cruise control in these conditions and try to drive below the speed limit.
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