Snow Storm Caused More than 1,000 Accidents in Virginia and a Death in Chesapeake
By Griff O'Hanlon, Chesapeake Injury Lawyer
Slippery conditions on roads have caused hundreds of accidents as snow hit Virginia and North Carolina and the death toll related to the winter storm is rising.
Wintery conditions caused many problems in Hampton Roads, but larger snowfalls were reported to the north and west.
In Virginia, state police say between midnight and 9 p.m. Friday they responded to 989 traffic accidents and 793 disabled vehicles as the storm blanketed most of the state in snow. The accidents continued on Saturday morning. State police responded to a total of 3,471 service calls on Friday alone.
Snow forced the early release of students from schools such as John Tyler Elementary in Portsmouth on Friday
With more snow forecast for today, you should stay at home unless you need to travel and heed Virginia bad weather driving tips.
The majority of the accidents reported by police involved vehicle damage and northern and central parts of Virginia were hit the hardest, but police reported that one person died after an accident caused by the storm on Friday afternoon in Chesapeake. The driver’s vehicle slid off the road and hit a tree in the 700 block of U.S. 17, in the Deep Creek area of Chesapeake close to the Dismal Swamp. Slippery road conditions caused by the storm appear to be to blame.
The Virginian-Pilot reported that police were investigating a fatal crash on Saturday morning on I-64 West close to the Indian River Road intersection. One person was killed, said Virginia State Police spokeswoman Sgt. Michelle Anaya. No other information has been released. A number of accidents linked to icy conditions led to the closure of I-64 west near Jefferson Avenue in Newport News for a period on Saturday morning.
On Friday, as the storm hit, Virginia Beach Public Schools reported a two-vehicle accident in Gunhall Drive, which involved a school bus. Schools spokesman Patrick D. Kane reported there were no injuries to any of the 19 middle school students on the bus. However, the driver and passenger of the second vehicle were taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries.
A Virginia State Police trooper suffered minor injuries after a driver hit his vehicle in Kent County. Police said there had been 65 crashes in Prince William County, Arlington County, Loudoun County, Alexandria and Fairfax County.
VDOT states that more than 4,000 trucks are deployed on interstates in the counties that have seen heavy snow. Drivers are asked to stay off the road to give plows as much room as possible to navigate.
The southside of Hampton Roads dodged the worst of the snow but the Peninsula saw more extreme conditions. About 2 inches of snow was reported in Newport News and Hampton, according to the National Weather Service. Just one inch of snow fell at Norfolk International Airport while less than half an inch was recorded in Virginia Beach.
To add to the mix, flooding was reported in some areas as well as power losses to homes in areas including Williamsburg. The bad news is there’s more to come.
Wintery conditions can cause particular problems on bridges. Officials with the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel advised motorists to drive carefully and lowered the maximum safe speed on the bridge-tunnel to 45 MPH on Friday.
In North Carolina, Gov. Pat McCrory said the death toll from the winter storm rose to five by Saturday as road conditions worsened.
McCrory said a death occurred Friday when a driver lost control of a truck on slippery Interstate 95 in Johnston County and crossed both southbound lanes. A Wilkes County man who was injured in a wreck on Wednesday evening also has died. On the same day, a Forsyth County woman and a Stokes County woman died in separate wrecks. A 4-year-old boy died Friday afternoon when the pickup truck carrying his family spun out of control on I-777 and crashed near Troutman.
“We cannot stress enough how treacherous the road conditions may be,” said Department of Public Safety Secretary Frank L. Perry said in a press release. “Please stay off the roads if at all possible. If you must travel, please plan ahead, check your local forecast and road conditions and practice safe driving habits.”
For information about road conditions, check with 511Virginia. If you have been injured in bad weather due to the actions of a driver who has failed to heed conditions, call us at (757) 455-0077 for a free consultation.