Icy road conditions cause hundreds of accidents

Vehicle strikes utility pole, closes Route 50; Anne Arundel County sees bulk of incidents

  • An accident involving a Jeep and a utility pole in Annapolis was among more than 70 incidents reported in Anne Arundel County on Friday related to weather.
An accident involving a Jeep and a utility pole in Annapolis… (Submitted photo courtesy…)
January 10, 2014|By Kevin Rector and Joe Burris, The Baltimore Sun

Hundreds of accidents occurred across the Baltimore region Friday morning as freezing rain caused icy conditions during the morning commute, according to local emergency officials.

A bulk of the problems were in Anne Arundel County.

One accident involving a vehicle striking a utility pole closed Route 50 in both directions at St. Margaret's Road in Arnold about noon, the State Highway Administration said.

The road reopened about 12:50 p.m. after Comcast crews worked to carry an electrical wire back over the highway, said David Buck, a SHA spokesman.

A separate incident in the same area of Anne Arundel County involving a jeep striking a utility pole — and traveling up it before coming to a stop — was reported by Natural Resources Police.

Initial information from the SHA that the two accidents involving utility poles were the same was incorrect, the SHA said.

Natural Resources Police reported the driver of the Jeep was not badly injured. The SHA did not have more information on the accident that closed Route 50.

The icy conditions were to blame in many accidents, though.

"As predicted actually, the ice came down right at rush hour," said Valerie Burnette Edgar, a SHA spokeswoman. "We had crews out salting, but when it comes down at the same time as all the traffic, it's difficult."

Large fluctuations in temperature can also cause problems on highways, including potholes, and the SHA has also been dealing with a high volume of repairs in recent days.

The Route 50 accident was just one of some 200 that had been reported in Anne Arundel between midnight and 11 a.m., according to Chief Keith Swindle, of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department. Police in the county reported responding to more than 70 incidents.

"We had some spinning out, some people going basically too fast for conditions," said Burnette Edgar, of the SHA.

Earlier in the morning, problems were also reported in Westminster and in Gambrills, and the Maryland Transportation Authority reported minor delays on the light rail, local bus, MARC train and mobility vehicles.

Officials in Baltimore and Baltimore County reported usual numbers of accidents, but said there were likely many fender benders that went unreported.

Louise Rogers-Feher, a Baltimore County Police spokeswoman, said drivers should be careful as "some areas will be clear and other areas will be water covered and icy."

Burnette Edgar said conditions are expected to improve as temperatures rise.



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