Icy roads keep crews busy

Authorities across the area were kept busy Saturday, dealing with the season’s first major snow and ice event of the season, which led to difficult driving conditions for several hours, officials said.

One crash at state Routes 82 and 11 in Vienna Township sent a vehicle into about three feet of water after a motorist hit a patch of black ice Saturday afternoon.

Two of five people in the car got out, but crews had to pull the vehicle from the water before they were able to extract the other three people.

All five were transported to Sharon Regional Hospital, according to the Vienna Fire Department.

Vienna fire Chief Richard Brannon said the situation was complicated by the vehicle being in water, because the department had to wait for a wrecker to arrive before it could get everyone out of the vehicle.

“Then, while we were on that call, we got calls on four more crashes along 11 and 82,” Brannon said.

In all, more than 150 driving-related calls came into the Trumbull County 911 Center between 3 and 8 p.m., concentrated mainly in the areas of Interstate 80 and state Route 11.

Trumbull 911 Supervisor Eric Luketic said the center dispatched safety services to about 40 accidents across the county over the five-hour period, with about half of those incidents resulting in injuries.

The Trumbull County communities with the most hazardous roadways were Howland, Vienna, Liberty and Champion, officials at 911 said.

Justin Chesnic, Ohio Department of Transportation Public Information Officer, said it is common for the first weather event of the cold season to result in more problems on the roadway.

“People just are not used to being out there and being on the roads during the first snowstorm,” Chesnic said. “That’s usually when we’ll see a lot of accidents.”

According to Chesnic, safe speeds and keeping a safe distance between vehicles are keys to staying safe when driving in a winter weather event.

“Get that extra room around the vehicles and just watch your speed,” Chesnic said. “Then, you have the other helpful things like making sure your headlights and windows are clean.”

Chesnic estimate ODOT used 25 trucks to treat roadways in the area with snow plows and salt.

“We’ve been out since the event started,” he said. “Conditions allowable, we always like to treat the roadways throughout the storm.”

Crews reported the main roads were clear by about 8:30 p.m. Saturday night, according to police radio traffic.