Overnight snow caused traffic tie-ups and some school closures across the state Monday, and an icy highway was blamed in a morning traffic accident that killed a Duncan man.
Christopher Brunson, 44, died on State Highway 29 just east of Potts Road.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers said Nicholas Ryan Taylor, 17, of Foster, was driving a van west on the highway about 8 a.m. when he lost control on the icy road, causing the van to spin and go left of center.
Brunson was driving his pickup east on the highway and was hit head-on. Taylor was treated at a hospital and released.
Brunson was taken to a hospital in Duncan and later to OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City, where he was pronounced dead about 12:30 p.m.
The snow measured as high as 4 to 5 inches in the western parts of Oklahoma, with about 1 to 2 inches in the Oklahoma City area.
But warmer air moved in just as the snow stopped falling, National Weather Service meteorologist Ty Judd said.
“We were up above freezing by midmorning,” Judd said. “Pretty much everything that was on the roads was pretty well gone by that point. It was worse for the people out west. It hit a little earlier in the evening. When it came into the metro, a lot of people were inside already.”
Ambulance crews responded to 30 vehicle crashes in the Oklahoma City area from 9 p.m. Sunday through Monday afternoon, and paramedics took 14 people to hospitals to be treated for injuries, all before 11 a.m., said Lara O'Leary, Emergency Medical Services Authority spokeswoman.
The University of Oklahoma and the University of Central Oklahoma started classes late Monday. Many school districts in the western part of the state closed for the day, but most metro school districts were open.
The winter weather won't last, as Tuesday's forecast calls for a high of 57 degrees.
City schools' attendance slides on snowy Monday
Oklahoma City Public Schools saw a dip in attendance Monday that officials attributed to the snow. About 11,000 students, or 30 percent of the district's enrollment, did not attend classes Monday, district spokeswoman Tierney Tinnin said. On a normal day, about 3,000 students are absent. “It's highly likely that the parents elected to keep their students home today due to the early morning weather,” Tinnin said. “They ultimately are going to make the decision that's in the best interest of their kids, and we understand that completely.” Bus drivers checked roads throughout the district early Monday, Tinnin said. No accidents were reported.
CARRIE COPPERNOLL, STAFF WRITER