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Published: 1/3/2008

Fremont man dies in crash with snowplow

BY MEGHAN GILBERT
BLADE STAFF WRITER

OAK HARBOR, Ohio - A winter storm that crossed the Midwest on New Year's Day is believed to have contributed to a fatal crash yesterday in which a Fremont man's car collided with a snowplow north of here, the Ohio Highway Patrol said.

William Federico, 44, was pronounced dead at the scene in Ottawa County's Carroll Township, troopers with the patrol's Sandusky post said.

Mr. Federico was eastbound on Salem-Carroll Road west of Carroll-Erie Road just before 6 a.m. when his car began sliding on the snowy roadway and crossed the center line into westbound snowplow's path, troopers said.

The Ottawa County snowplow, which was being driven by Kurtis Lenke, 30, of Oak Harbor, struck the car's right side, troopers said.

Mr. Lenke was not hurt; both men were wearing seat belts, troopers said.

Northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan received 2 to 4 inches of snow from the system that dropped up to 16 inches in the Detroit area and up to 15 inches around Cleveland.

Snowfalls in the region measured about 2 inches in Lucas County, 3.2 inches in Erie County, and 1.5 inches in Lenawee County, according to AccuWeather, Inc., a private forecasting service in State College, Pa.

In harder-hit northeastern Ohio, about 10,000 people lost power.

For metro Detroit, the New Year's Day snowstorm was the region's heaviest on record for the amount of snow it dropped in such a short time period, which was 4 inches an hour at times.

In the Toledo area, snow started falling late New Year's Eve, changed to rain in the early morning, then back to snow on New Year's Day.

That caused some water to refreeze on the roadways, adding to the dangerous conditions caused by the snow cover, said Andrew Ulrich, an AccuWeather meteorologist.

Winds averaged about 10 mph with gusts up to 16 mph, which could have contributed to blowing some of the powdery snow across area roads.

The good news is that, after a bitter-cold start this morning, the snow should be a memory in a few days, Mr. Ulrich said.

"There will be a good warm-up lasting into next week," he said.

A steady increase in temperatures is expected, with a 52-degree day on Sunday. High temperatures are predicted at 24 degrees today, 35 tomorrow, and 42 by Saturday with some rain in the afternoon, Mr. Ulrich said.

Snowfall in the area has been about average so far this winter, he said, with about an inch in November, which was below the 2.8-inch norm, and 10 inches in December, which was above the month's 8.3-inch average.

Information from Associated Press was used in this report.

Contact Meghan Gilbert at:

mgilbert@theblade.com

or 419-724-6134.



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