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Exercise 5-3
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Writing an Accident Story


You arrive at the scene of an accident at 9:40 a.m. Monday in the middle of a snowstorm. It's so cold that the ink in your pen has frozen. Good thing you brought a pencil. Write a 250-word story for Tuesday morning's paper based on the following set of facts.
  • Cars are backed up half a mile on both sides of the scene of the accident at Interstate 94 near 155th Avenue.

  • Two cars and a truck wrecked at about 9:30 a.m. and left motorists stuck on the highway for 70 minutes, said Bob Boone, a Fargo Fire Department spokesperson.

  • Responding to the accident are two fire engines, a water-tanker truck, a rescue squad, a paramedics unit, a tow truck, and state and county troopers, too.

  • The cars' drivers are not injured, but the truck driver is being treated for minor injuries at MeritCare Hospital in Fargo, Boone says.

  • John Washburn, a 22-year-old undergraduate at North Dakota State University, was uninjured after driving his white Geo Metro into a mailbox on Poplar Avenue. "I just pulled off my snow tires last week. I guess I'll wait a few more weeks next year. Sure stinks to get stuck in the snow."

  • D. B. Dotty, 124 W. Breedlaw Road., witnessed the accident. "The ground froze fast last night when it was near zero. The concrete was so cold this morning that instead of melting, the snow turned to ice. Nobody expected it. It got slick all of a sudden."

  • A call to the National Weather Service at Fargo's Hector International Airport yields the following: A narrow band of storm clouds rolled across central North Dakota, officially dumping just a tenth of an inch of snow, according to NWS spokesperson Todd Drizzle. "We got a bit more than we expected," Drizzle says, adding that forecasters had expected "mere flurries."

  • Most of the 60 accidents occurred between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., a police spokesperson says.

  • Boone says many drivers had removed their winter snow tires and the dusting was enough to create conditions in which cars slid off the road.

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