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Numerous accidents reported on icy roads

Westbound lanes of I-68 near Sideling Hill reopened

Westbound lanes of I-68 near Sideling Hill reopened

December 13, 2009|By JULIE E. GREENE

TRI-STATE -- Freezing rain led to the closure of two major highways in the Tri-State area, emergency officials said Sunday morning.

A stretch of Interstate 68 on both sides of Sideling Hill was shut down as of 10:11 a.m. Sunday for motorist safety, said William Henry, police communications officer with the Maryland State Police in Washington County.

The westbound lanes of I-68 reopened at 11:23 a.m. and state police were allowing traffic through slowly, Henry said. The eastbound lanes were reopened around 1:15 p.m., according to Maryland State Police. Even the salt trucks were having problems with the icy roads.

The top of Sideling Hill on I-68 was still icy as of 2:15 p.m. Sunday, Maryland State Police said.

In Berkeley County, W.Va., Interstate 81 reopened fully around 11 a.m., a 911 dispatcher and West Virginia State Police said.

All or parts of the northbound and southbound lanes were closed in the morning after two tractor-trailers flipped on their sides just south of the Spring Mills exit around 5:50 a.m., a 911 dispatcher said. One tractor-trailer was northbound and the other was southbound.

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Two patients from the overturned tractor-trailers were taken to City Hospital in Martinsburg, the 911 dispatcher said.

The roads in Morgan County, W.Va., reopened around 9:45 a.m. after being closed for about two hours due to freezing rain and numerous accidents, a Morgan County 911 dispatcher said. The road closures were ordered by the director of Morgan County's Office of Emergency Services.

Tri-State area emergency officials responded to numerous accidents due to icy roads Sunday morning, including several overturned vehicles.

"Just a bunch of people who refuse to slow down," Henry said.

The Snow Emergency Plan for Washington County was placed in effect at 7 a.m. Sunday because of hazardous driving conditions caused by extreme ice conditions, Maryland State Police said. It was lifted at 2 p.m.

Overturned vehicles included one on Leitersburg-Smithsburg Road at 7:43 a.m. and on Leitersburg Pike at 6:54 a.m., according to the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

The driver of the overturned vehicle on Leitersburg Pike said she hit the brakes when a vehicle in front of her lost control. As she hit the brakes, she lost control of her vehicle, which went off the road and flipped over in front of Lovell's Nursery at 19777 Leitersburg Pike, said Deputy Spencer Shank. The driver went to Washington County Hospital for evaluation, he said.

At 8:59 a.m. Sunday, there was a report of an overturned vehicle on northbound Interstate 81 near the Fayette Street exit for Shippensburg, Pa., a Franklin County, Pa., 911 dispatcher said. That accident was minor and there had been at least two other accidents in that area Sunday morning, he said.

At 11:19 a.m., a Franklin County 911 dispatcher said all of the morning accidents in that county turned out to be minor and accident reports had slowed down.

In Morgan County, there were "accidents all over the place" and some people had been taken to Winchester (Va.) Medical Center after one incident, a 911 dispatcher said around 9 a.m.

A woman with Maryland State Police's Washington County barrack said there were accidents everywhere due to icy roads and officers were working to get roads cleared as quickly as they could.

When the snow emergency plan is in effect in Washington County, travel is not recommended, and all vehicles traveling on designated state snow emergency routes must be equipped with chains, snow tires or all-season radial tires.

Vehicles parked on snow emergency routes are subject to being impounded, the release said.

For current road conditions, call 1-800-327-3125 or go to www.marylandroads.com.

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