Icy wrecks kill 3 as storm hits area

January 09, 1997



Staff Writers

A winter storm that dumped more than 3 inches of snow across the Tri-State area Thursday claimed the lives of at least three people, was blamed for a number of other accidents, and shut down a stretch of Interstate 81 in Franklin County, Pa.

In Washington County, two people died when the Chevrolet Nova in which they were riding collided with a Ford pickup truck at 5:10 p.m. on Leitersburg Pike northeast of Hagerstown.

The victims were Billy "Junior" Jones, 43, the driver of the car, and his wife Betty Irene Jones, 44, of Millers Church Road near Leitersburg, according to Deputy John Marshall of the Washington County Sheriff's Department.


They were pronounced dead at the Washington County Hospital emergency room at 6:05 p.m., said hospital spokesman John Costopoulos.

The Jones car was traveling north on Leitersburg Pike when it skidded across the center line into the path of a southbound pickup truck driven by Robert Bruce Savage, 50, of Hedgesville, W.Va., Marshall said.

Savage was not injured, according to Marshall.

West Virginia State Police believe snowy conditions contributed to a head-on collision between two cars on W.Va. 9 that killed a 73-year-old Charles Town, W.Va., man and injured three people.

Paul Lambert Rowland was killed when the two cars collided near the intersection of W.Va. 9 and Wiltshire Road, about five miles west of Charles Town in Bardane, said Trooper Jose Centeno.

Rowland was a passenger in a car being driven by Timothy William Danner, 24, of Charles Town, Centeno said.

Centeno said the accident occurred about 3:48 p.m. after the driver of the second car, Judith Mary Brown, 30, of Martinsburg, W.Va., lost control of her 1994 Mazda truck, which skidded and crossed the center line. As she was trying to get back into her lane of travel, her truck struck Danner's Pontiac Grand Am head-on, Centeno said.

Brown was taken to Jefferson Memorial Hospital in Ranson, where she was listed in fair condition, Centeno said. Brown's infant daughter was in her truck, but the child was not hurt, Centeno said.

Danner and a third passenger in his car, Terry Lee Rowland of Charles Town, were taken to Winchester Medical Center in Winchester, Va.

Terry Lee Rowland was in serious condition at the hospital and Danner was in fair condition, Centeno said.

In Franklin County, Pa., two tractor-trailers overturned on a snowy Interstate 81 in a 7 p.m. accident that also involved a passenger car, according to Pennsylvania State Police.

The accident shut down northbound I-81 between Exit 2 and Exit 4, said Trooper Chris Manetta. Traffic was being routed onto U.S. 11 at Exit 2, Manetta said. As of 9:05 p.m., traffic stuck behind the accident had begun to trickle past the accident scene at the Zarger Road overpass just north of Greencastle, Pa.

One man was treated for a minor head injury and released from Chambersburg Hospital following that accident, according to Pennsylvania State Police.

Police agencies in all three states reported a number of accidents with injuries and minor accidents.

A Washington County man who injured three fingers in a snowblower accident was listed in fair condition at Washington County Hospital on Thursday night following surgery.

Darrell Shepley, 60, of 20216 Beaver Creek Road southeast of Hagerstown, had just started clearing his driveway when his snowblower clogged around 4:16 p.m., said Lt. Steve Schultz of the Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co., which responded along with Community Rescue Service.

"He reached in to unclog it while it was still operating," Schultz said. Three of the fingers on Shepley's right hand were severely cut, but still attached to his hand, he said.

Washington County Transportation Department Superintendent Ted Wolford said 30 trucks hit the streets at about 5:30 a.m., with another 10 contractors joining the effort later in the morning.

He said the crews worked feverishly to lay a mixture of stone and salt on 800 miles of road. By 4 p.m., he said, the roads were in pretty good shape.

"A little slick in spots, slushy. Right now, I think the sleet is coming, but we're still out there," he said. "We're going to keep after it probably until tomorrow afternoon."

A weather-related power outage in the area of Crystal Falls Drive outside Hagerstown was expected to be fixed by 8:30 p.m., said Allegheny Power spokeswoman Debra Beck. Beck said she did not know how many customers were affected by the 5 p.m. outage.

The freezing rain was supposed to end by midnight, said National Weather Service meteorologist John Billet.

Weather this morning was expected to be partly sunny with the possibility of flurries later in the day as well as on Saturday, Billet said. Temperatures Friday and Saturday afternoons should be in the 30s.

Washington County Schools Superintendent Wayne F. Gersen said he had not determined Thursday night whether schools would open late this morning.

Staff writers Steven T. Dennis and Dave McMillion contributed to this story.

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