Winter weather claims two lives

By Keith Strange

January 28, 2014

Slick road in the county claimed two lives in the span of just hours today, according to Emergency Services Director John Shelton.

In the span of a couple of hours, Shelton reported that two accidents, one a single-vehicle crash on Poplar Springs Road and the other a two-vehicle accident on Riverside Drive, resulted in two fatalities.

While the identities of the victims were not available at press time, Shelton said that in addition to the fatalities in the two accidents several other injuries were reported in the two wrecks.

Shortly after noon, county emergency services officials were busy working several wrecks and were preparing for even more.

“So far we’ve had several accidents,” Shelton said as a steady snow fell in Mount Airy.

According to Shelton, emergency workers had also been responding to several calls related to falls.

But Shelton said emergency workers were prepared for whatever came their way.

“We’re beefing up staff to be prepared and are checking our generators to make sure they’re working properly,” he said. “We’re also going to be working closely with the Department of Transportation to identify which roads might become slick and dangerous overnight.”

According to Mark Williams, county maintenance engineer with the Department of Transportation, they are as ready as possible.

“We’re fully stocked up on salt and chemicals, and all of our spreaders and plows are loaded and fully equipped,” he said. “We’re fully staffed and plan on staying out on the road all night if we have to. If conditions deteriorate we’ll be out there.”

Williams said the county was equipped with about two dozen vehicles to help maintain and clear the roadways.

According to the National Weather Service, things could get dangerous on county roadways as a result of the winter weather.

“People are going to have to be careful when driving,” cautioned Ken Kostura, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, “especially on elevated surfaces.”

Kostura said the that while the bulk of the winter weather would fall to the east of the foothills, some snow would be falling on the region throughout Tuesday.

“It could continue on until the system moves to the northeast overnight,” he said. “The higher amounts of snowfall will be on the eastern parts of the state, but it’s going to be cold and the roads could get slippery.”

Keith Strange can be reached at 336-719-1929 or via Twitter at @strangereporter.