Spinouts and crunches
Up to 3 inches of snow fell on western Nevada County Monday morning, triggering dozens of collisions from Magnolia Road in the south to Harmony Ridge off Highway 20.
A 19-year-old Nevada City man was hospitalized at Sutter Roseville Medical Center with head injuries after he was involved in a collision on Highway 20 in Penn Valley.
Adam McElwain was in fair condition Monday afternoon, said hospital spokeswoman Robin Montgomery.
The California Highway Patrol reported that McElwain’s 1990 Acura Legend was struck at 11:44 a.m. by a 1986 Chevrolet Blazer driven by Robert Frey Jr., 52, of Penn Valley.
Frey’s westbound vehicle hit frozen snow and drifted into the westbound lane, side-swiping McElwain’s car near the intersection with Rough and Ready Highway, said CHP officer George Kirbyson.
“There’s stuff going on all over the place,” Kirbyson said at 11 a.m.
At midday, abandoned cars lined some of the more troublesome Grass Valley area streets – Brunswick, Greenhorn and Bitney Springs roads and Highway 20.
“People start sliding, they get afraid to drive, and leave their vehicle on the side of the road,” Kirbyson said.
Before noon Monday, snowfall caused a Brink’s truck to hit a school bus and a Federal Express truck spun out, stalling traffic on Brunswick.
Brink’s messenger Nou Chang waited with a driver by the side of Brunswick for another of the security firm’s trucks to take his load of cash and valuables.
He declined to describe the scrape with the school bus, which had left.
Plowing operations all over the Sierra started early Saturday and continued into early Sunday, Caltrans spokesman Mark Dinger said Monday. Caltrans crews were working 12-hour shifts, he said.
On Monday, a half-dozen plow-sanders were at work in central Nevada County.
Chain controls were enforced at various times on Highway 174 between Grass Valley and Colfax; Highway 49 between Nevada City and Lime Kiln Road; Highway 20 between Penn Valley and Grass Valley; and Highway 20 at the Lone Grave (near Harmony Ridge Market) to Interstate 80.
Chain controls were in effect only to the Lone Grave by late afternoon. Controls were lifted elsewhere between 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Chicago Park School closed down at 12:30 p.m. Ready Springs School dismissed sixth through eighth grades at 2:20 p.m., 50 minutes earlier than usual. Many schools canceled their after-school programs, including Union Hill Elementary School.
Nevada Union High School had a minimum day planned for Monday.
High schools and grades four, five and six must be in session for 240 minutes – four hours – to collect funds from the state for their average daily attendance, said Stan Miller, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction at the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools office.
Kindergartners must be in school for 180 minutes – three hours – and grades one, two and three for 230 minutes.
Each district superintendent decides when to close a school after it’s already opened for the school day, Miller said.
A sign of the storm that brought snow even to valley towns Yuba City and Davis was propped in the window of one Fowler Center business.
“We don’t accept weather-related expenses,” warned Paul Walsh about videos returned late at Video Library.
When a snowstorm is in the offing, the business urges customers to take videos out on five-day rentals instead of a one-day rental so they don’t incur additional fees if they can’t get back to town in time.
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