Published: 2020-02-21 11:06:00
Updated: 2020-02-21 15:02:59
By WRAL staff
Raleigh, N.C. — Freezing temperatures overnight made for icy driving conditions in the early hours of Friday morning, especially on bridges and overpasses, leading to spin outs, crashes and road closures around the Triangle.
Sgt. Christopher Knox with the State Highway Patrol said, "It's been a busy morning."
As early as 5:30 a.m., eastbound lanes of Wade Avenue between Edwards Mill Road and Interstate 40 in Raleigh were closed due to an icy bridge and multiple reported crashes. Several vehicles spun out on the Wade Avenue bridge, causing traffic to be blocked from about the PNC Arena back to the west. By 7 a.m., Wade Avenue was opened again.
A State Capitol Police officer on her way to work spun out and crashed on Wade Avenue. After she got out of her vehicle, she was hit by an out-of-control car, authorities said. The officer suffered a broken leg.
Around 6 a.m., Interstate 87 at Knightdale Blvd. was closed due to a wreck, expected to remain blocked until 8 a.m.
"There have been so many accidents they had to shut down a bridge in Princeton. "The accidents have been very severe," said WRAL reporter Kasey Cunningham.
Around 8 a.m., officials were working to tow a truck that had crashed over a guard rail on U.S. Highway 70 and Cheek Road. The truck flew over the guard rail, then ran down a steep embarkment and came to rest in the trees.
By 9 a.m., a plume of black smoke could be seen over the trees by I-540 near Triangle Town Center. The smoke, which was on the opposite side of I-540 near U.S. 1, turned out to be a van that had caught fire on a ramp. Firefighters managed to put the fire out quickly, but the van sustained serious fire damage.
Officials said the van previously spun out and was on the side of the road. When someone came to tow it, the van somehow caught fire and burned up. The occupants of the van were already out and were not injured.
A ramp from Capital Blvd. onto I-540 W was essentially a sheet of ice and closed down.
"Officials said it's entirely too unsafe for vehicles to travel down," said WRAL reporter Adam Owens.
"It is all ice," he said.
According to Knox, despite the multiple crashes, there were no fatalities from weather-related collisions during this storm.
"Schools had let out, people had left work," he said, stating that the sheer volume of cars on the roadways was less than in previous storms, which helped decrease the risk.