Ice and snow caused more than 10 vehicles to slide off Houston Mesa Road Monday morning and created a moving obstacle course for law enforcement officers responding to the scene.
"We were there dodging cars," Payson Police Sgt. Donny Garvin said. "We literally had to avoid vehicles sliding into us as we were investigating the accident."
According to Garvin, two vehicles were involved in a minor accident at 9:15 a.m. on what is referred to as the "old 15 mph curve." But the result of that accident created a domino effect as north- and southbound vehicles slid into the ditch trying to avoid the scene or go around the accident.
"We had to close the road for about an hour at 9:45 a.m.," Garvin said. "There was one guy arguing with me about us closing the road. He said he could make it because he had a 4-wheel drive. I told him there were already three 4-wheel drive vehicles in the ditch. As he was arguing, he slipped and fell to the ground. I said, ‘What were you saying?'"
A Gila County snowplow was called to the scene and the road was opened about 10:45 a.m.
"We didn't pull a police report for every car in the ditch because of the number of vehicles... it was hectic," Garvin said.
Both drivers involved in the original accident were cited for failure to control their vehicles.
"People need to be careful when driving in snow and ice," Garvin said. "Even though there may be a posted speed limit, they should keep in mind that in inclement weather, that still may be too fast."
To check on current road conditions, call (888) 411-7623. If the line is busy, keep trying, Garvin said.