Wintry road conditions cause dozens of accidents, one fatal

While Tuesday may have marked the first day of spring, conditions during the morning commute said winter is not quite done with us yet.

The Monongalia County Emergency Management Agency (MECCA), which handles 911 calls in the county, received 38 calls regarding car accidents throughout the area in just a five-hour period Tuesday morning starting at around 5:30 a.m.

One fatality was reported in a three-vehicle accident on the Uffington Bridge on Interstate 79 southbound, near the I-79/I-68 interchange.

According to a press release authorized by Monongalia County Sheriff Perry Palmer, the wreck occurred at about 6:12 a.m. and involved a Ford Escort, a Mack truck and a courtesy patrol vehicle.

Preliminary reports from the scene indicate the driver of the Ford Escort lost control on the bridge and was struck by the Mack truck.  

The driver of the Escort, whose identity had not been released as of Tuesday afternoon, died as a result of their injuries.

The driver of the Mack truck and the courtesy patrol officer who was involved both walked away uninjured.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Shannon Hefferan said light snow showers late Monday night and early Tuesday morning combined with below-freezing road temperatures across the area causing hazardous conditions for drivers.

Hefferan said bridges and similar areas were the first to freeze, citing another fatal accident Tuesday morning on a bridge on Interstate 80 in Pennsylvania.

The rest of the week should look a little more like the March weather we expect, with temperatures on Wednesday predicted to be in the low 50s with the potential for brief rain showers in the afternoon, Hefferan said.

Daytime temperatures should remain in the low 50s with Friday being the warmest day with a high of 55.  Some rain is predicted Friday night into Saturday with sunny weather Sunday.

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