PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The little snow and rain that sprinkled down on Tuesday morning quickly became black ice in Washington County — creating some dangerous driving conditions.
A 51-year-old Hillsboro woman died after she was hit by a Mazda minivan on SW Tualatin Valley Highway and 341st around 7 a.m., the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said.
The woman, later identified as Leslie Schmadeke, was rushed to a hospital but succumbed to her injuries. The driver of the minivan stayed at the scene and cooperated.
Investigators said it was dark and foggy at the time of the crash. There are no streetlights at this part of the highway and Ms. Schmadeke was wearing dark clothes.
Authorities don’t believe any crime was committed.
The investigation into this crash continues.
This crash is just one of several across Washington County on Tuesday morning. Several cars were stuck within a mile stretch near Southwest Hillsboro Highway and Tongue Road — sending deputies scrambling to help.
“Within one hour this morning of the commute, we had at least 7 crashes all at the same time involving cars driving off the icy roads and into ditches.”
The owners of one car told KOIN 6 another driver sideswiped them after losing control on the black ice around 6 a.m. They said they’d been out there for over 3 hours waiting for a tow truck.
Luckily, deputies said most of the winter weather crashes were non-injury.
“But, when there’s that many crashes happening it could take a while before we can get there or before a tow truck can get there,” said WCSO Deputy Brian Van Kleef. “So people should be prepared to be in their cars for an extended period of time.”
Whether that’s packing warm clothing or a full emergency kit, deputies say just leave it in your car — you’ll never know when you might need it.
“So while the Portland metro area may be warmer, when you get into the more rural areas south of town you get out of that urban heat island and it can be several degrees colder,” he said. “Weather conditions can change in a minute.”
For instance, a drive through Banks or down Highway 6 would bring snow and winter driving conditions — along with more cars tossed on the side of the road.
With more cold and wet weather in the forecast, officials stress to take it slow.