Slick road leads to 5 accidents

Slick pavement near the Siskiyou Summit sent five vehicles slipping and sliding off the roadway over a six-hour period Sunday.

Four of the vehicles had to be towed away, but only one driver had to be transported to the hospital with minor head injuries.

"It was just slick," said John McEvoy, engineer with Fire District No. 5.

McEvoy said the first rains of the season typically bring up the oils in the roadway, making it more slick than normal. There was no ice during these accidents. "People just need to slow down," he said.

The accidents occurred at mileposts 5 and 7, where there are some particularly sharp curves.

The first accident occurred at 6:58 a.m., the second at 7:58, the third at 8:23 and the fourth at 12:41 p.m..

When fire crews arrived for the 12:41 p.m. accident, another vehicle spun out at 12:57 p.m. "It almost hit us," said McEvoy.

The driver was able to drive away from the scene and didn't require any assistance from emergency crews.

The Oregon Department of Transportation was going to put extra signs alerting drivers of the dangerous conditions near the curves, McEvoy said.

He said there have been several accidents at the summit as the first rains of the season hit. He said motorists need to pay particularly close attention to their speed coming down the summit because icy weather will likely hit the valley soon.

The National Weather Service is predicting freezing temperatures at the summit on Tuesday night.

More showers are expected in the Siskiyou Mountains today, but not as heavy as Sunday. Most of the rain will be in the Cascade range.

Another storm front should slide into Jackson County Thursday, but packing less of a punch than Sunday's rain. Snow levels for Thursday's storm should be 7,000 feet during the day and 5,500 feet at night — still higher than the summit.

For the 24-hour period ending at 5 p.m. Sunday, .87 inches of rain fell at Medford airport, though areas around Medford received up to 1.7 inches.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476, or e-mail

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