Snowy roads cause hundreds of crashes; 4 state troopers struck

Snowy roads cause hundreds of crashes; 4 state troopers struck
A Virginia State Police trooper's vehicle was hit Monday morning in Henrico County.

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Crews are working around the clock to clear and treat roadways after nearly a foot of snow fell across Central Virginia on Sunday.

Crews are focusing on clearing interstates and primary roadways first, before moving to secondary roads and neighborhoods.

Virginia State Police responded to more than 1,100 disabled/stuck vehicles statewide Sunday. Troopers increased patrols during the storm’s peak to help with response time.

The Metro Richmond Division of Virginia State Police has been one the most active responding to crashes. There have been 398 crashes in the Richmond Division since 12:01 a.m. Sunday and 10 a.m. Monday. An additional 356 disabled vehicles were reported in the Richmond Division.

Statewide, state police has responded to 1,589 calls of disabled or stuck vehicles.

Downed trees and other debris have clogged roads, primarily in western Virginia .

TROOPERS INJURED IN CRASHES

Two state troopers were involved in separate crashes Sunday night and two more were hit Monday morning.

In Pulaski County, a vehicle slammed into a trooper and his cruiser on I-81 north around 6:44 p.m. The trooper was not injured and neither was the driver of the other vehicle.

In Hanover County an SUV slammed into a VSP cruiser as the trooper was stopped on the left-hand shoulder on I-95 south around 7:11 p.m. helping a disabled vehicle. The trooper was transported to the hospital and is expected to be okay.

On Monday morning, a driver lost control of their vehicle just before 4 a.m. while traveling on I-295 north in Henrico County and struck several vehicles, including a state trooper.

The trooper was working a crash on the right shoulder and was sitting in his vehicle with the driver from the earlier crash when it was struck. He was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

Another trooper’s vehicle was hit on I-95 just after 7:30 a.m. Monday in Prince George County. A driver lost control on an I-95 overpass. Neither the trooper nor the other vehicle’s driver was injured.

GOOD SAMARITANS COME TO THE RESCUE

Among the hundreds of cars stuck in the snow for much of the day and night, there were plenty of good Samaritans ready to lend a helping hand.

"I didn’t know what to expect,” said Morgan Priestley, who got stuck off W. Broad Street in Short Pump.

Priestley said she tried to turn into a parking lot to turn around.

“I was trying to clear the snow out with my little brush,” she added.

Thankfully two other trucks came to Priestley’s rescue shoveling some of the snow away, leaving Brian Puryear to tow Priestley, who is seven-months pregnant, out of the snow.

“I’m just so grateful that people are still out here and willing to help and stop,” Priestley said.

“This is a skill that I have that’s easy to me,” Puryear said. “I just hook up the cars and most people wouldn’t know how to do it or break something in the process of doing it.”

In fact, in a seven-mile stretch Sunday night, Puryear pulled out six people.

“It’s been a lot,” he said.

Meanwhile Sunday afternoon saw plenty of helping hands as well.

“I was coming out from this stoplight, and started spinning and lost control of the car," said Donovan Lee, who got stuck on W. Broad Street. "I just couldn’t get it going.”

Daniel Villar was getting some food at the McDonald’s when he saw Lee’s Camaro spinning its wheels. Villar said he knew he had to help.

“Thank God somebody came and helped me because I couldn’t get it moving at all,” Lee said.

“For everybody that’s out there, please if you see somebody stranded please help," Villar said.

DISABLED VEHICLES

Dispatch logs for law enforcement agencies showed dozens of calls for disabled vehicles across RVA.

“On Gaskins Road there were 10 cars unable to move and wreckers and tow trucks cant get to them,” Puryear said.

On I-64 west at the Gaskins Road off-ramp at least three vehicles could be seen stuck in the snow. State police had that ramp closed off for several hours.

Gary Preston, a native of New York, fell victim to the slick road conditions Sunday afternoon.

“I saw a car slide in the distance and I called 911," he said. "I thought to myself, what’s going to happen to me today?”

Preston said he ended up getting stuck in a ditch for roughly 2.5 hours off Chippenham Parkway.

“Could always be worse," he said. "I had snacks, I had gas, I had coffee, so I can’t complain too much.”

State troopers said a vehicle ran off of I-64 eastbound near Staples Mill Road sometime Sunday, crashing into the guardrail and eventually smashing into the trees. A trooper said the individual was not injured, but the car had severe damage.

Traffic on some of the area’s major arteries was backed-up throughout the night Sunday.

A tractor-trailer jack-knife on I-95 north causing backups near the Chamberlayne Ave exit in Henrico.

No details about this crash were immediately available.

Two disabled semi trucks leading bumper-to-bumper traffic in I-95 North in Chester. Drive with caution and expect a slow go.

Posted by NBC12 on Sunday, December 9, 2018

Chesterfield Police were busy updating citizens with accident numbers via social media.

Between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. Chesterfield Police received more than 650 calls for service; more than 200 of them were for crashes and disabled vehicles.

Also in Chesterfield, police reported that some traffic lights are out. Drivers were reminded to treat intersections with traffic light outages like a four-way stop.

Also in Chesterfield, poor road conditions at northbound I-95 and Route 288 closed the road for several hours.

Virginia State Police also confirmed a wrong-way car on Chippenham at the Forest Hill exit caused traffic backups.

Officials urge drivers to call 511 on your cell phone or visit 511virginia.org for updated road conditions.

VDOT’s snow plows can be tracked HERE.

Several road closures in Central Virginia on Sunday afternoon included:

  • Nickel Bridge
  • 23rd Street between Grace and Franklin
  • Byrd Street between 4th and 5th
  • Brown’s Island Way
  • I-64 East ramp/ Broad Street eastbound (Short Pump)
  • Springfield (Francistown to Nuckols)
  • Bickerstaff at Midview
  • Carolina Avenue between Laburnum/Richmond-Henrico Turnpike
  • Exit/entrance ramps at 64/Broad Street in Short Pump

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