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Wintry weather to blame for two crashes

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Buffalo: Wintry weather to blame for two crashes
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Snow and freezing rain were to blame for several crashes across Western New York on Monday. YNN's Meg Rossman has more on the incidents and why officials are urging drivers to be cautious, despite a slight increase in temperature.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — "The weather forecast told us it was going to be icy,” New York State Police Zone Sergeant Ronald Warner said.

But that didn't stop some drivers from speeding.

"He lost control, traveled through the median and struck one of the State Police cars."

Warner said 21-year-old Eric Smith was charged with failure to keep right and speed not reasonable and prudent, after he struck a trooper's Tahoe on the I-190 – sending him to the hospital.

It's a stark reminder to slow down in wintry conditions.

"Anytime the weather is like this, especially when it's fluctuating between freezing and not freezing, it's something that can be dangerous," AAA Public Affairs Specialist Steve Pacer said.

In fact, Pacer said a week's worth of subzero temperatures had the potential to make Monday morning's commute that much more dangerous, with slightly warmer conditions lulling drivers into a false sense of security.

"People might see the temperature and think it is 32 degrees so it's okay. It might be a little bit of a little psychological factor in there, where it's warmer so you can drive faster. That's not the case."

Warner said Smith was passing other drivers when he lost control. He walked away uninjured and a state trooper was taken to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

Others weren't so lucky.

Erie County Sheriff's said sloppy conditions were responsible for a fatal crash in the Town of Brant. They say 76-year-old Donald Murray crossed the median, struck another car and was pronounced dead at the scene.

"It's still winter, it's the end of January,” Pacer said. “You have to be careful."

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