Blast of winter

Published 9:51 am Friday, December 17, 2010

Hunterdale and Courtland rescue workers attempt to free Dorothy Ellsworth from her vehicle after after it collided with a tractor-trailer on Route 58 at the Food Lion in Courtland during Thursday's snowfall.

FRANKLIN—When Diana Warren left her home at 9:30 a.m. Thursday for some needed grocery shopping in Franklin, the snow had not started.

Shortly before noon, Warren was concerned with what to expect on the back roads on her way home to Sedley after nearly 2 inches of snow had fallen.

“It’s three times worse now (than when I left home),” she said while pumping gas into her sport utility vehicle at Farm Fresh in Franklin.

As forecast, the snow began falling about 10 a.m. Thursday and continued until the temperature warmed up around mid-afternoon. Virginia State Police by that time reported 68 crashes with eight injuries in the Hampton Roads, Franklin, Emporia, Eastern Shore and Williamsburg areas.

Among those injured in crashes was Dorothy Ellsworth of Capron, who was driving a sport utility vehicle when it slid through a red light and into the path of a tractor-trailer in Courtland, said Trooper E.N. Stallard.

Ellsworth at 11:15 a.m. was driving on Agripark Drive between Food Lion and Grayson and Emma’s Garden Spot when her vehicle slid through the light, Stallard said. It took rescue workers about 10 minutes to free her from her Toyota Rav4. The trooper wasn’t sure which hospital Ellsworth would be taken to.

An unidentified rescue worker said he didn’t believe she suffered serious injuries, but she was having problems breathing.

In Isle of Wight County, calls for 24 accidents within four hours starting coming in shortly after 10 a.m., said Diane Jones, manager for the 911 Emergency Communication Center. Most were slide-offs with no serious injuries and in the more populated areas of Carrollton and Route 10.

“The south end wasn’t so bad; we only had three to four along Route 258,” Jones said.

By 2 p.m., things had slowed down.

Jack Jr. Towing in Franklin was kept busy, said manager Jackie Bryant. The business received calls for 10 to 15 slide-offs and collisions.

“We’ve had three (tow trucks) out most of the day,” Bryant said. “We had one (on Route 58) in Holland that was a seven-vehicle accident.”