Weather blamed for accident, closing of highway, and late start of school

While a fast moving winter storm swept across the state on Monday, it prompted a late start for school in Gettysburg and the eventual closing of several other schools in the region. Gettysburg started classes at 10 a.m. and kept the kids throughout the bad weather, with the snow and wind starting to subside by the times classes were released around 3:30 p.m.

Wind gusts peaked at 51 mph around 1 p.m. according to the Mesonet weather station located at the Gettysburg airport. That time coincided with an accident on US 83 south of town, where the wind and snow combined to create white-out conditions.

According to Potter County Sheriff Curt Hamburger, about six miles of US 83 near 169th Street was closed for about an hour so rescue personnel could assist with an accident.

Sheriff Hamburger said that Frank Siedschlag of Gettysburg was driving north when he veered into the oncoming traffic lane and collided with a semi truck trailer. The semi, driven by Scott Lyons, who is not from the area, was traveling south and attempted to swerve to avoid the collision. Both vehicles were reported to be driving at low speeds of around 35 mph due to the weather conditions, and  went into the opposite ditches.

The Gettysburg fire department responded and Siedschlag was taken to the Gettysburg hospital where he was kept overnight for observation. He was returning from a medical appointment in Pierre at the time of the accident.

The Buick driven by Siedschlag is believed to be totaled. He was released from the hospital on Tuesday morning.

-Molly McRoberts

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