State Police ticket stranded motorists

GEORGETOWN — Five tickets were issued after a driving ban in Sussex County was announced at 1 p.m. Thursday due to deteriorating road conditions caused by snow, wind and extremely low temperatures, Delaware State Police said.

At noon Friday, Gov. John Carney terminated the Level 2 driving restriction, which prohibited motorists from traveling unless they were considered “essential personnel” such as emergency services crews, utility workers, health care providers, snow plow drivers, food and fuel deliverers.

Three violations were detected in the area of Bridgeville Highway in Seaford at Herring Run and Eskridge roads. Two others came in Lewes on John J. Williams Highway and Angola Road. Three incidents involved three disabled vehicles along with two vehicles in motion, including a DUI case.

Thursday tickets came at 5:49 p.m., 7:25 p.m., 7:34 p.m., and 9:23 p.m., and one was at 12:20 a.m. Friday.

“We assist a motorist if disabled using the safest possible way to help the motorist,” State Police spokesman Sgt. Richard Bratz said. “We may need to call for a tow truck company at owner’s request or if there are unsafe circumstances.”

First offense operating a motor vehicle during an emergency tickets come with a fine of $25 to $115. The second offense range is $50 to $100 or 10 to 30 days in prison, or both.

It was not immediately clear how the final fine amount and/or length of incarceration was determined.

The citations came as Delaware’s southernmost county was placed into an official State of Emergency that remained in effect on Friday until further notice.

The Delaware National Guard continued to assist state and local authorities in responding to the storm.

“Snow and ice on roadways still pose risks, so Delawareans should exercise caution while driving,” Gov. Carney said in a statement lifting the no driving edict.

“Thank you to everyone at the Delaware Department of Transportation, the Delaware National Guard, and all local and state authorities for their work responding to this storm. I also want to thank Delawareans across Sussex County for their patience as we worked to clear the roadways.”

State Police provided information on the total number of traffic-related incidents reported from 10 p.m. Wednesday to 9:59 a.m. Friday.

The preliminary numbers included “some incidents could have been deemed unfounded or were ultimately changed in classification from disabled vehicle to a crash or vice versa,” according Sgt. Bratz:

New Castle County

Disabled vehicles: 3

property damage crashes: 31

Injury crashes: 1

Kent County

Disabled vehicles: 63

Property damage crashes: 20

Injury crashes: 3

Sussex County

Disabled vehicles: 253

Property damage crashes: 19

Injury crashes: 0

Authorities said around noon Friday that primary roads in Kent County had patchy spots of snow and ice and secondary roadways were covered in snow. The weather was clear, and cold with light winds.

In Sussex County, roads were snow covered with some icy patches. Most back roads were impassible and windy conditions continued in southern Delaware.

State of Delaware Offices in Sussex County were closed Friday through 4:30 p.m., with non-essential employees living or working there not to report for duty. Non-essential employees on other shifts were to begin at 4:30 p.m. or after if scheduled.

Essential employees were to report as scheduled. Updated information was available online at de.gov/closings.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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