Winter Weather Wreaks Havoc on the Highways

MOUNDSVILLE – Snow, ice and slush contributed to a series of traffic accidents across the Upper Ohio Valley on Monday, including the rollover of a 40-ton propane tanker truck on W.Va. 88.

The truck, hauling non-odorized propane, crashed at Pine Hill Road between U.S. 250 and W.Va. 86 in the Limestone/Sherrard area of Marshall County on Monday afternoon, striking a nearby structure. The driver was injured and taken to Ohio Valley Medical Center in Wheeling, according to emergency management Director Tom Hart. Sherrard Volunteer Fire Department, Limestone VFD/EMS, Marshall County Sheriff’s Department, West Virginia State Police, the West Virginia Division of Highways and Marshall County Office of Emergency Management responded. The accident closed the road for about four hours.

“The deputies who responded think the truck’s tires may have dropped off the road, or it may have taken the turn too wide. We’re not really sure at this time,” said Marshall County Chief Deputy Bill Helms. He said the truck’s back end apparently struck a building along the road.

“We don’t believe there’s any serious damage to the building at this time,” Helms added, noting he did not believe the person inside the building was injured in the accident.

Helms said the propane being transported was not odorized, which he said means that it was not treated with chemicals to make it identifiable by smell. The truck did not appear to be leaking, but another propane truck arrived on the scene to transfer the propane to its tank.

Meanwhile, the Ohio State Highway Patrol responded to a single-vehicle accident on Interstate 70 just east of Morristown about 3 p.m. Monday. A witness said the driver of a sport utility vehicle lost control while changing lanes and traveled off the roadway. After striking the guardrail, the vehicle overturned onto its driver’s side in the muddy area just off the roadway.

Ambulances from the Belmont and Bethesda VFDs responded, but officials at the scene said no serious injuries were reported.

A dispatcher at the St. Clairsville patrol post said troopers there handled eight weather-related accidents Monday.

Nearly 30 accidents were reported, but many of them turned out to be disabled vehicles rather than actual accidents, he said.

An official with the Belmont County Sheriff’s Department said the county was under a Level 2 snow emergency Monday evening, which means roads were hazardous with blowing and drifting snow.

Workers were urged to contact their employers to see if they were required to report to work and to travel only if they felt it was necessary.

Emergency Management Director Lou Vargo said the only significant weather-related crash he was aware of in Ohio County took place in the Park View Lane area of Wheeling. Two people were injured in that crash.