Winter weather leads to wrecks

Published 10:51 am Friday, December 17, 2010

Thursday’s snow and Friday morning’s “black ice” kept local law enforcement officers and tow trucks busy throughout the Roanoke-Chowan area.

While the actual number of weather-related accidents is not known as of Friday morning, First Sgt. Todd Lane of the North Carolina Highway Patrol’s Troop A, District II office in Ahoskie summed up the day in one word, “busy.”

“We had troopers working accidents all over the district,” Lane said. “It was typical of a snow event, lots of vehicles sliding off the road and into the ditch.”

Other than a Bertie County Public Schools bus that flipped over on its side near Colerain Thursday morning, none of the accidents were serious.

In the school bus wreck, one student reportedly suffered a broken collarbone. It appears the remainder of the students, all from Colerain Elementary School, escaped serious injury.

According to Highway Patrol Trooper J.O. Walter, the bus accident was reported at 10:51 a.m. on NC 45 at Wakelon Road, south of Colerain.

Walter’s investigation revealed that the bus driver, Lizzie Riddick of Powellsville, apparently lost control of the vehicle on the snow-covered road. The bus ran off the left side of the road, struck a ditch and flipped on its right side.

No charges were filed due to the road conditions.

Bertie County Schools reported on schedule Thursday morning. However, school officials opted to close all facilities by mid-morning and sent all students and teachers home.

Sgt. Lane suggested that local motorists should simply take their time when driving on snow and ice. Do not brake suddenly and do not follow another vehicle too closely.

It’s also good advice during a winter weather event to have extra clothing, a blanket and a fully charged cell phone in your vehicle. Due to the high volume of accidents during snow and ice events, it can take a while for emergency responders to reach an accident scene.

Thursday’s weather did result in three deaths across eastern North Carolina. According to media reports, a man died when a pickup truck and a car collided on a road near Fayetteville. A wreck on NC 11 in Duplin County near Pink Hill proved fatal when the driver of a pickup truck hit a patch of ice and collided with another vehicle. There was another fatal wreck in Robeson County.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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