Md. frozen over

ice claims 3rd victim

Schools closed 2nd day

tough driving, walking in frigid conditions

January 28, 2004|By Lynn Anderson | Lynn Anderson,SUN STAFF

Maryland was glazed with ice yesterday as the deep winter freeze continued, and the death toll blamed on slippery conditions rose to three when a Catonsville man was hit by a delivery truck while walking along U.S. 40 in Baltimore County.

Across the state, Marylanders awoke to a world sheathed in ice - a predicament that made ice skates the best way to navigate parking lots and sidewalks. Schools remained closed for a second day, and evening commuters braved freezing rain and snow to get home.

The alternating snow and ice storms forced federal offices in Washington to close early yesterday and cut power to an estimated quarter-million people in the Carolinas and Georgia. Forty-eight deaths have been blamed on this week's icing.

FOR THE RECORD - The name of Baltimore County police officer Karl Schult was misspelled in an article about weather-related accidents that appeared in yesterday's editions of The Sun.

Maryland's latest casualty was Frederick Arthur Fox, 52, who was walking in the right traffic lane of Baltimore National Pike near his home in the 900 block of St. Agnes Lane about 6:45 a.m. when an eastbound Frito-Lay delivery truck that was changing lanes hit him, said Officer Shawn Vinson, a Baltimore County police spokesman.

No charges were lodged against the driver, Kevin Weigman, 37, of Pasadena, but the accident remained under investigation, Vinson said.

The others from Maryland, who died Monday, were Curtis E. Badger, 45, of Salisbury, who lost control of his tractor-trailer on an icy stretch of U.S. 50 in Dorchester County about 7:30 p.m.; and Richard M. McGauley, 57, who was struck by a sliding sport utility vehicle while operating a snow blower in the driveway of his Churchville home.

Frigid temperatures, snow and ice remained entrenched across much of the nation's central and eastern regions.

In Illinois yesterday, dozens of school districts called off classes because of slippery roads. Rush-hour traffic was snarled in Chicago, and hundreds of flights were canceled. New York City closed its schools today because of snow and below-freezing temperatures.

Although the Central Maryland forecast for today offered the tantalizing possibility of a slice of sunshine, temperatures will remain below freezing, said Neal Dipasquale, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sterling, Va.

But worse will be expected wind - with gusts to 40 mph - that could result in blowing snow and drifts of the fresh accumulation that topped off yesterday's freezing drizzle. Extremely icy conditions are expected.

"Any surface not treated with salt or chemicals will still have ice and snow on it," Dipasquale said.

Ice was the cause of several serious traffic accidents, two of them involving off-duty police officers.

Baltimore County police Officer Karl Schultz was in serious condition at Maryland Shock Trauma Center yesterday after he lost control of his car Monday night on an icy and snow-covered road in Towson and hit another car head-on, police said.

Schultz was southbound on Providence Road heading to work at police headquarters when he lost control of his 1993 Mercury Topaz near Southwick Drive and hit a 1998 Nissan Altima. The Nissan's driver, Mahender Chaitanker, 28, of Towson, was taken to St. Joseph Medical Center, police said. A hospital spokesman said he asked that information on his condition not be divulged.

In Anne Arundel County, Officer Shawn Urbas, who is on leave while serving with the U.S. Coast Guard at Curtis Bay, was struck by a van that ran out of control on icy Interstate 97 near Quarterfield Road, police said. At the time, Urbas was assisting another driver who had slipped off the highway, police said.

Urbas was being treated at North Arundel Hospital for a head injury and a possible broken leg, police said.

An 18-year-old Catonsville man was in critical condition at Shock Trauma last night after he fell off a makeshift sled being pulled by an all-terrain vehicle and was hit by a Ford Taurus whose driver - a 17-year-old boy - was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, police said.

The victim, John Jagela, was seated on a cement-mixing pan when he fell under the car, according to police.

State police reported numerous accidents throughout the Baltimore area last night, but no injuries or major traffic jams.

The series of storms, which has covered the state with snow amounts ranging from 5 inches to 21 inches, has taxed the budgets for state and local governments as road crews worked overtime to clear and de-ice roadways.

And forecasters said more snow could be on the way - perhaps Friday, Sunday and Monday.

In Carroll County, road crews spent their 16th consecutive day plowing and de-icing, said Benton Watson, director of the roads department.

"Our people will be really glad to see this stuff get out of here," he said. "It will mean a day off."

In many jurisdictions, a coating of hard ice over mounds of snow was making it difficult for crews to reach bare asphalt.

"There's not much snow-plowing we can do at this point because it's so frozen," said Pam Jordan, a spokeswoman for Anne Arundel County.

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