Local News

Icy Roads To Blame For Fender-Benders, School Delays Across Triangle Area

Posted December 15, 2003 11:11 a.m. EST

— Power was restored to about 16,000 utility customers in North Carolina by Monday after icy weather struck, but slick roads made commutes to work dicey in central and western areas of the state.

Numerous wrecks were reported overnight and throughout the morning.


Durham man died

when the pickup truck he was riding in slid on a patch of ice and collided with another pickup truck on South Miami Boulevard near Stirrup Creek Drive.

Officials in Durham responded to a number of fender-benders, including a multivehicle wreck along a northbound lane of the Durham Freeway. Three people were injured.

Officials also reported problems along most Interstate 540 exits in Wake County and Highway 64, Interstate 95 in Johnston County and in Lillington.

Schools were closed in Person County because of road conditions and other school systems in central North Carolina counties delayed opening.

A school bus wrecked in Johnston County, but no students were aboard it.

Officials shut down a portion of Interstate 77 in Charlotte after a series of traffic accidents were caused by ice on the road. The highway was reopened, but not before traffic came to a standstill.

In the Asheville area, a few traffic accidents were spotted, but no major tie-ups were reported. Highway crews spread salt and sand on slick spots early in the morning.

Duke Power spokeswoman Rose Cummings said about 13,000 outages -- a third in Guilford County -- were restored.

Progress Energy spokeswoman Julie Hans said the utility's 3,000 outages in North Carolina also were restored by late Sunday.

Two inches of sleet fell in Watauga County. The storm also dropped ice and sleet to the north-central part of the state. About a half-inch of ice glazed trees in Guilford County Sunday morning and Piedmont-Triad International Airport reported an inch of sleet on the ground.

The National Weather Service had issued a "black ice advisory" Sunday night, effective through daybreak Monday, warning that residual moisture on roads had frozen during the night.

"Black ice is a thin sheet of ice that is difficult to distinguish from wet spots on highways at night," the weather service said, adding that the most dangerous areas were overpasses and bridges.