Officials: Fewer crashes, cars stay off the roadways

With the schools closed and government offices shut down, such measures kept hundreds of motorists off the roads on Wednesday as the region dealt with the latest snowstorm.

“Many people, I believe were heeding the warning not to drive if they really didn’t have to,” a patrol supervisor at the state police barracks in Montoursville said.

The supervisor said he was hoping motorists would stay off the roads Wednesday night as well “so that PennDOT (the state Department of Transportation) and municipal road crews could get the roads and highways cindered.”

There were a few reports of drivers “skidding off the road, but really nothing serious,” he said.

Muncy Township Fire Chief Scott Oldweiler said a woman was shaken up when her car spun off the highway and nearly hit a guardrail along the eastbound lane of Interstate 180, near the Muncy-Fairfield township line, about 8:10 a.m.

“Road conditions were really horrible at the time. Snow was coming down hard,” Oldweiler said.

The woman was taken by ambulance to the Muncy Valley Hospital to be evaluated, he said.

In another crash, a man suffered minor injuries, but declined treatment when his Ford Taurus and a tractor-trailer truck collided at High and Rose streets about 9:20 a.m., city police said, adding that slippery road conditions contributed to causing the crash.

A dispatcher at the 911 center that covers Union County and the upper end of Northumberland County said there were about “eight to nine non-injury accidents” in the region during the day.

One accident with injuries did occur on Interstate 180 near Turbotville about 3:30 p.m. when a vehicle overturned in the median. Two people were reported injured, but there were no other details as of press time.

As a precautionary measure, PennDOT temporarily reduced the speed limit on Route 15 as well as Interstates 180 and 80 to 45 mph, according to Kim Smith, a PennDOT spokeswoman.

“Motorists should allow plenty of space when driving near plow trucks. Also, for their own safety and the safety of plow operators, motorists should never attempt to pass a truck while it is plowing or spreading winter materials,” she said.

PennDOT also encourages drivers “to pack an emergency kit for their vehicles. Such kits should include non-perishable food, water, a blanket, a small shovel and warm clothes. When preparing such a kit, motorists should take into account special needs of passengers, such as baby food, pet supplies and medications,” Smith said.