Winter weather keeps crews hopping

By Keith Strange

January 30, 2014

After Tuesday’s snowstorm claimed two lives in Surry County wrecks, local officials said the overnight hours and slick roads did not cause many additional problems.

“We actually had a pretty good night,” EMS Director John Shelton said Wednesday morning. “We had a lot of hospital transfers, but we only did emergency transfers that had to go out of the county. Between us and the Air Care ground unit, all were taken care of.”

But with a dry snow coating county roadways, Shelton said there was little time to rest overnight Tuesday.

“We ended up having a huge number of accidents, probably 50 or more including the fatalities,” he said. “But fortunately they only involved bumps and bruises. The only serious injuries we had involved the two fatalities.”

Two county women were killed in two separate weather-related accidents Tuesday afternoon.

Joyce M. McDaniel, 27, of Meadows of Dan, died when the minivan in which she was a passenger crossed the center line on Riverside Drive shortly after 1 p.m., and collided with a pick-up truck.

According to the North Carolina Highway Patrol, McDaniel was riding in a 2006 Dodge minivan operated by Jamie C. Sutton, 37, also of Meadows of Dan. Investigators say the vehicle went out of control in a curve and crossed the center line, colliding with a 1991 Toyota pick-up truck operated by Robert J. Woodson, 32, of Mount Airy.

In a second accident that occurred just eight minutes later on Poplar Springs Road near Elkin, Jean S. Conley, 68, of Elkin, was killed when the pick-up truck in which she was riding left the roadway, slid down an embankment and struck a tree. The vehicle, a 2002 Chevrolet Silverado, operated by Angela C. Blackburn, 44, of Elkin, reportedly lost control on the ice and snow-covered roadway and traveled down the shoulder before sliding down the embankment.

Two juveniles, Woodson and Sutton were all transported to Northern Hospital for further observation following the accident, according to Shelton. The 7-year-old was subsequently transported to Wake Forest Baptist Health for treatment.

No further information about charges was available.

Shelton said caution exercised by county residents prevented what could have been more serious accidents overnight.

“I think everyone pretty much exercised caution and stayed home unless they had to be out,” he said. “Most of the restaurants and a lot of the businesses in the area closed early and people went home and got off the roads. That helped us a lot.”

He noted that while the county is beginning to thaw out after the winter weather, residents should continue to exercise caution.

“Residents really need to be careful when walking on the sidewalks and walkways,” Shelton said, noting emergency workers also responded to a number of calls related to falls. “There will be a false sense of security out there on the roadways, but for the next few days we need to watch out and be extra cautious because there will still be ice out there in places.”

Keith Strange can be reached at 336-719-1929 or via Twitter at @strangereporter.