6 Dead After Texas Ice Storm

Ice storm brings wrecks, road closures

At least six people were killed in weather-related accidents since a winter storm moved into Texas.

Matthew Penelle Jr., 41, fell from an icy overpass into the Trinity River bottoms to his death Tuesday night in Dallas.

Police said the Duncanville man was helping at a crash at Mockingbird Lane and Westmoreland when he jumped to avoid an out-of-control vehicle and fell.

His body was later recovered from the river. 

A Crowley man was killed at 3:20 p.m. when his Ford Mustang slid and struck a tree after leaving the northbound service road of East Loop 820 South near East Berry Street, the Star Telegram reports.

The other Texas fatalities were reported in Midland, Big Spring, Ector County and Howard County.

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Roads Ice Over; Hundreds of Crashes Reported 

The Texas Department of Transportation and city officials across North Texas worked to prepare roads for icy road conditions. Dallas activated its Ice Force One plan, which had 30 trucks working in 12-hours shifts to keep the roads clear.

Bridges and highways in Dallas, Tarrant, Denton, Collin and Wise counties were icy Tuesday night, the Texas Department of Transportation reported on its Web site.
Johnson County officials advised residents to stay inside Tuesday night because of icy conditions. Sand trucks could not get out fast enough, according to Johnson County Emergency Management. No ambulances were available late Tuesday night because of the number of wrecks, officials said.

Fort Worth officials said 480 major and minor crashes had been reported from noon Tuesday through 8 a.m. Wednesday. 

Dallas police said 104 minor crashes, 40 major crashes and 53 major crashes on freeways had been reported between midnight and 9 p.m. Tuesday.  Officials reported 129 minor crashes, 38 major collisions and 21 major crashes on freeways between midnight and 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. No one was killed, police said.

The Clear Creek Bridge on Interstate 35 near the Sanger city limits was shut down at about 4 p.m. Tuesday because of slick spots on the road. There were reports of four crashes in the area.

Denton city officials said Tuesday afternoon 24 crashes had been reported since 7 a.m. Officials said 36 crashes had been reported between 7 p.m. Tuesday and about 1 p.m. Wednesday.

The Dallas County Sheriff's Department said a driver spun out on an icy patch and wrecked his car on the Clark Road overpass where Spur 408 meets Interstate 20. The overpass was closed off as emergency crews cleared the scene and sand trucks sprayed the road.

Flight Delays

Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport was operating on a limited flight schedule Wednesday morning, airport officials said. About 125 flights were canceled across all airlines.

The de-icing procedures remained in effect. The airport was expected to return to a routine flight schedule sometime Wednesday afternoon.

About 185 flights had been canceled Tuesday because of weather conditions in North Texas and around the country, said Ken Capps, a DFW Airport representative.

About 1,500 passengers spent the Tuesday night at the airport, and thousands more were stayed in hotels or with family and friends.

Traveler Matt Stillwell said his trip back to Oklahoma City had become a two-day odyssey.

"I'm now 102 on the standby list on the only flight available today, and I was told I can't get out until Thursday," he said Tuesday night.

Airport officials said plenty of hotel rooms were available for stranded travelers and concessions stayed open until 1 a.m.

At Love Field Tuesday, Southwest Airlines reported several canceled flights to Tulsa and Oklahoma City because of the weather.

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Oncor Reports Outages Fixed

Oncor said Wednesday after that all weather-related power outages have been fixed.

At the height of the storm, only 500 residential outages were reported in North Texas.

Oncor crews had prepared for possible outages on Monday. Oncor representative Jeamy Molina said when tree limbs loaded with ice fall they can bring power lines down with them.

Oncor crews worked around the clock in 12- to 16-hour shifts out of 14 service centers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Molina urged North Texans to prepare for possible outages by having flashlights, battery-powered radios, food and water on hand.

"We ask that everyone be patient with us," she said. "Our guys are out there working as hard as they can to restore power as quickly and safely as possible."

In the event of an outage, residents are asked to call the 800 number on their electric bill. People who see downed power lines are urged to stay away from them and call 911.

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Copyright AP - Associated Press
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