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Accidents plague Tri-State during winter storm

February 18, 2000|By BRENDAN KIRBY and RICHARD F. BELISLEs

A nasty ice storm tormented Tri-State area motorists Friday, causing numerous accidents throughout the area.

No serious injuries were reported.

"It was very icy and very heavy slush," said Washington County Sheriff's Deputy David Izat, who investigated an accident along Md. 60 near Leitersburg.

Weather forecasters predicted mostly sunny conditions throughout the weekend.

Washington County received nearly an inch of rain and ice Friday, according to Hagerstown weather observer Greg Keefer's Internet site.

Accumulation was higher in Franklin County. Chambersburg, Pa., weather observer Jerry Ashway said 4 inches of snow fell on the area Friday morning before it turned to sleet around 11:30 a.m.

By 12:30 p.m. it had turned to rain, which lasted until about 4 p.m.

Ashway said precipitation for the year is still below average, but Friday's storm, which dumped about an inch of water, helped.

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"It won't boost the plus column by much, if any," he said.

In the Leitersburg Pike accident, which occurred at about 12:20 p.m., Colin Leofwyn Robinson, 69, of Waynesboro, Pa., lost control of his 1986 Chevrolet station wagon and slid into the opposite lane of travel, deputies said.

Kenneth W. Custer Jr., 42, of Martinsburg, W.Va., tried to avoid the car, but his 1996 Mack truck collided with the vehicle. Both vehicles spun around and landed on the opposite shoulders of the road, deputies said.

Robinson's wife, Ellenova Robinson, 72, was taken to Waynesboro Hospital. She was treated and released, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Colin Robinson was charged with failure to reduce speed to avoid a collision, deputies said.

Five other traffic accidents in the county Friday did not cause injuries, authorities said.

Pennsylvania State Police in Chambersburg were kept busy with accidents on Interstate 81 Friday morning and early afternoon. Nine vehicles were involved in four separate accidents.

Only one of the accidents caused injuries, and they were minor, police said.

The drivers of two southbound tractor trailers were cited after one truck jackknifed on the icy highway and the truck behind could not stop in time to avoid hitting it, police said. Both rigs went off the road, police said. The accident occurred south of Exit 8.

The driver of the second truck suffered minor injuries but was not hospitalized, police said.

West Virginia State Police reported no injuries in the Eastern Panhandle on Friday.

John Margraf, a meteorologist for the service, said there was a chance of showers this morning with a gradual decrease in cloudiness throughout the day. The high was expected to be about 50 degrees.

Sunday's forecast calls for partly sunny skies with the high between 45 and 50 degrees, Margraf said.

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