County man dies clearing driveway

December 30, 1997

County man dies clearing driveway


Staff Writer

A Washington County man died while clearing his driveway and another lost part of a finger in a snow blower accident Tuesday in the aftermath of a storm that dumped nearly a foot of snow throughout the Tri-State area.

"It was not a good day," said Doug DeHaven, deputy chief of the Volunteer Fire Co. at Halfway.

Authorities across the Tri-State area reported a number of traffic accidents late Monday and early Tuesday, but said most were minor.

DeHaven said an ambulance was sent at 10 a.m. Tuesday to a home in the 900 block of Linwood Road, where medics found a 69-year-old man in cardiac arrest. The man apparently suffered a heart attack while clearing snow from his driveway, DeHaven said.


About 35 minutes earlier, a man's right hand became stuck in a snow blower on Fairway Lane in Town Oak Village, DeHaven said. The tip of one of his fingers was cut off and rescue workers were unable to locate it, he said.

DeHaven said the man was taken to Washington County Hospital.

The Sharpsburg rescue company took a man to the hospital following a sledding accident at about 4 p.m. Deb Gargana, a representative of the company, said the department was dispatched for a report that an inner tube had crashed into a tree off Harpers Ferry Road.

A vehicle collided with a utility pole on Broadfording Road near Clear Spring at about 7:30 p.m., but no one was hurt, according to the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

The accident broke the pole and disrupted power to about 150 homes, Allegheny Power spokeswoman Debbie Beck said. She said the company expected to have power restored by midnight.

On Tuesday evening, a brief but heavy snow shower caused problems on Interstate 70 as slick conditions made for slow going in certain areas. Officials reported at least two traffic accidents and several other disabled vehicles.

The eastbound lane of I-70 between Big Pool and Clear Spring was tied up between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.

One vehicle slid off the road, another had a flat tire and another had a dead battery, Maryland State Police said.

"I-70 from the 12-mile marker to about the 16-mile marker is a parking lot," said Jim Blevins, an emergency services dispatcher.

About 8 inches of snow fell at Washington County Regional Airport, but crews worked feverishly Monday night and Tuesday morning, officials said.

"We are open and on time this morning," said Carolyn Motz, the airport's manager. She said the airport used every piece of equipment it had to keep the main runway clear.

Elsewhere in the Tri-State area, authorities reported few problems.

"It was a rather uneventful occurrence. Most people got the word to stay off the roadways," said Steve Allen, director of the Office of Emergency Services in Berkeley County, W.Va. He said ambulances had some trouble with slick roads, but didn't have to contend with much traffic.

West Virginia State Police Sgt. Rob Blair said troopers from the Martinsburg barracks responded to about a dozen calls overnight to help motorists, but none of those accidents involved serious injuries.

At 6:30 a.m. a tractor-trailer rolled over on southbound Interstate 81 near the 23-mile marker, according to Blair. Andrew J. Gartensleben, 23, of Chesterfield, Va., told police he lost control of the rig when he hit a patch of snow in the passing lane.

The truck went off the right side of the road and did not block the interstate. Blair said traffic was rerouted onto U.S. 11 from exits 20 to 23 as the truck was being righted between about 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

Capt. Curtis Keller of the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department said another tractor-trailer jackknifed at 1:34 a.m. near Exit 20. He said there were no injuries and traffic was able to get around the blocked roadway by using the off and on ramps at the exit until the truck was towed back onto the road.

Pennsylvania State Police in Chambersburg logged a several snow-related accidents and state police at the McConnellsburg barracks said there were very few incidents in Fulton County.

Incidents were also kept to a minimum, in part because the bulk of snow fell overnight when people were home from work, police said.

Meteorologists at the National Weather Service are predicting cold temperatures and windy conditions to settle in for the rest of the week. Some snow flurries are possible today and Thursday, officials said.

Staff Writers Don Aines, Marlo Barnhart and Don Aines contributed to this story.

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