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Three children escape serious injury when jeep hits tractor-trailer rig

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WINSTON-SALEM (WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL) — Three small children apparently escaped serious injury this afternoon when were thrown out of the back of a jeep onto the travel lanes of Business 40 east of downtown, authorities said.

The accident happened about 4 p.m. in the westbound lanes of the road east of the Fifth Street exit.

The three children, whose names were not available, were probably ejected when the jeep slid and hit the wheels of a tractor-trailer rig, said Cpl. Bobby W. Hatcher of the Winston-Salem Police Department.

Hatcher said that the truck was going 15 or 20 miles an hour in the right land and the jeep a little faster in the left lane when the jeep began to slide.

He said it was amazing that the children seemed to have received only minor injuries.

“This could have been really, really bad,” Hatcher said.

A witness to the wreck, Karlie Cornelius of East Bend, said that if traffic not been going slow because of the ice, it’s likely that other cars would have run over the children before they could have been brought to safety.

Cornelius, who was driving in front of jeep, said there were four adults and the three children in the jeep.

Immediately after the accident, a woman in the jeep ran to the children and got them, taking them over to the grass on the shoulder of the road, Cornelius said.

Police were still investigating the accident.

A second accident closed a portion of westbound Business 40 in Winston-Salem as a mix of freezing rain and sleet makes driving conditions hazardous.

Both lanes of westbound Business 40 are closed near the U.S. 52 interchange.

The two-vehicle accident occurred just west of the U.S. 52 interchange, and traffic was being routed onto U.S. 52 North. Other details were not immediately available.

Forecasters at the National Weather Service took snow out of the forecast for Forsyth County, but said that freezing rain and sleet wouldl continue to cause problems.

The National Weather Service had called for up to an inch of snow here today followed by freezing rain. Now, forecasters are saying that a large area of sleet changing to freezing rain will spread this afternoon along the I-40 corridor west to east toward the Triangle area.

Schools let out early as the bad weather moved in.

Multiple wrecks were reported as drivers slid on the icy streets. There were cases of vehicles striking buildings, running off the road and striking guardrails.

Forecasters were still calling for snow in Boone, Mount Airy and other parts of Northwest North Carolina.

Temperatures throughout the region are expected to stay well below freezing today.

Bringing in the wintry weather is a fast-moving trough of low pressure that is moving through the area.