Icy roadways create havoc for Kent, Sussex motorists

FELTON — No injuries were reported after a Felton Community Fire Company rescue truck slid into a ditch due to icy conditions Tuesday.

It was passing a crash site en route to another incident two miles farther down Sandtown Road when the mishap occurred at 6:35 a.m., officials said.

Capt. Rodney Simons said he was one of six firefighters in the truck that passed by at 10-to-15 mph before it began to slide into a ditch and then overturned on its side.

A Felton Fire Company truck overturned Tuesday morning on Sandtown Road near Felton as freezing temperatures and rain-slickened roadways combined to cause slippery and hazardous driving conditions. (Submitted photo/Rodney Simons)

A Felton Fire Company truck overturned Tuesday morning on Sandtown Road near Felton as freezing temperatures and rain-slickened roadways combined to cause slippery and hazardous driving conditions. (Submitted photo/Rodney Simons)

A wrecker was pulling a tractor-trailer out of a ditch after it hit a pole when the Felton rescue truck traveled slowly past and then slid, Capt. Simons said.

Fortunately, Capt. Simons said, all the occupants were wearing seat belts and equipment was secured. Some soreness was reported by firefighters after the crash, he said.

Two wreckers arrived and removed the rescue truck after about 2 to 2½ hours, Capt. Simons said.

The rescue truck was taken back to the fire station for evaluation. Capt. Simons said there was cosmetic damage, and the truck would be checked for further damage.

Earlier, Felton firefighters responded to a minor crash on Canterbury Road caused due to the ice. The call logged in at 5:36 a.m.

“It was a very minor crash due to the ice,” Capt. Simons said.

Delaware State Police said that from before 4:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., troopers responded to 70 property damage crashes in Kent County, including nine with injuries.

Sussex County had 17 property damage crashes, with one personal injury crash.

In New Castle County, there were eight property crashes, one personal injury crash, including a fatality in Bear.

Kent County crashes largely were scattered throughout secondary roads, authorities said.
Delaware Department of Transportation road crews began reporting in at 4 a.m. in Kent County to treat roads with salt. Spokesman Jim Westhoff said ice storms are challenging due to the rain that precedes them, washing away any pre-treated salt.

“Crews were waiting with salt for the moment that freezing began, so they could begin putting it on the roadways,” Mr. Westhoff said.

Unfortunately, accidents occurred throughout the state.

“Our crews take it very seriously,” Mr. Westhoff said. “It is our job to keep the roads safe, and any time an accident occurs, especially a fatal, it affects us.

“ … Despite all the countless hours we put into it, there are still going to be some slick areas.”

Dangerous road conditions due to ice closed schools in Kent and Sussex counties Tuesday.

The school district closures included Caesar Rodney, Capital, Lake Forest, Laurel, Milford, Campus Community, Polytech, Positive Outcomes, Providence Creek Academy, Seaford, Sussex Tech, Smyrna and Woodbridge.

In Middletown, Appoquinimink School District schools were closed, while MOT Charter School and St. Georges Tech both opened two hours late.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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