Icy Roads Cause Over 50 Wrecks

Posted January 22, 2008 5:43 a.m. EST
Updated January 22, 2008 6:02 p.m. EST

— Icy roads Tuesday morning lead to more than 50 accidents across the Triangle, most of which were fender-benders that caused no serious injuries, according to authorities.

The roads returned to normal after warmer temperatures swept through the area.

Cars could be seen sliding on the road at N.C. Highways 540 and 54, where previous accidents were blocking some lanes. Glenwood Avenue at Interstate 540 was also backed up due to slippery roads.

"The cars were spinning around, striking each other, striking the guardrails, striking the Jersey walls," said Trooper Beckley Vaughan, of the state Highway Patrol. "One of the worst things you can do, of course, is hit the brakes, and most of those people, when they started losing control, were applying the brakes."

Mark Bitleris drove his sport utility vehicle into the median guardrail cable on N.C. 540 at N.C. 54.

"I was going across the bridge, just hit a patch of ice and started going sideways," Bitleris said.  "About five minutes later, another car hit the wall on the other side. The ice seemed to creep up on people."

Robin Griffo was involved in a three-vehicle wreck at I-540 and Glenwood Avenue.

"I actually hit a van first, and then it threw me into the wall," Griffo said. "Then I hit (another car), and then I rode up the side of the wall and stopped right here at the end."

“I was like oh my gosh, we're in a wreck, we're not gonna go over the rail, we are not gonna go over the rail,” Griffo’s daughter, Abigail, said.

Durham police reported an accident on Interstate 85 south entering Durham where a black car hit a white truck.

A Honda Accord hit a patch of ice and hit a silver minivan at I-85 northbound and the Guess Road exit  Another car trying to avoid the accident slid rear-end first into the side of an 18-wheeler near I-85 North and Duke Street.

Moore County officials said they were "very busy" working multiple accidents from ice, especially in the western part of the county. U.S. Highway 1 southbound was closed after an accident near Deep River at the Chatham/Lee county line, according to officials.

The National Weather Service in Raleigh warned that patchy freezing drizzle or light freezing rain would develop across sections of the Piedmont between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m.

Temperatures were forecast to be between 25 and 30 degrees at the onset of rain, but were expected to warm up a little later in the day. Ground temperatures were considerably colder than Saturday night, when parts of the state saw some snowfall.

Monday's high temperature was 37 degrees. Temps for this time of the year are usually around 50 degrees. The low temperature was 15 degrees, which was 14 degrees below normal.

On Dec. 7, wet snow, flurries and freezing rain put a light glaze on bridges and highways throughout the Triangle. That was enough to cause one fatality and dozens of wrecks and shut down portions of several highways – slowing the commute to crawl.

Another shot of cold weather is expected late Thursday, with temperatures in the mid-20s and then dropping down to about 15 degrees on Friday.