Area Has First Taste of Winter Weather
A mixture of snow, sleet and freezing rain made travel treacherous for Moore County motorists early Thursday.
The area was under a winter weather advisory early, and before the rain and warmer temperatures arrived by mid-morning, numerous traffic accidents kept emergency responders busy.
The local office of the N.C. Highway Patrol reported a high volume of minor wrecks throughout Moore and portions of Hoke counties.
Students got a day off from school. The Moore County public schools, The O'Neal School and Sandhills Community College were closed Thursday The makeup date for public schools is Feb. 21.
County Fire Marshal Ken Skipper said the roads were dotted with patches of ice and slush throughout the early morning.
"We've had a couple (of accidents) near Vass-Lakeview, others near 24-27 west of Carthage and some in Southern Pines," Skipper said. "The worst vehicle wrecks have been near Vass."
The U.S. 1 bypass between Vass and the Cranes Creek Road exit was closed briefly early Thursday because of slick road conditions causing several wrecks.
In Pinehurst, a car overturned on N.C. 211 before 6 a.m., and there were several reports of cars pulled off to the side of the road on Fort Bragg Road, and other reports of wrecks in the northern end of the county.
At 5:50 a.m., Ben Zuniga-Ortiz, 32, of Albuquerque N.M., was driving his 2000 Ford Explorer west on N.C. 211 when it ran off the road and into a ditch near the intersection with Murdocksville Road.
"He hit some ice and that caused him to go in the ditch and caused his vehicle to overturn," said Capt. Floyd Thomas of the Pinehurst Police Department.
Zuniga-Ortiz was uninjured. He was cited for careless and reckless driving, Thomas said.
In preparation for possibly icy roads, the N.C. Department of Transportation, along with town crews in Southern Pines, treated roads Wednesday with salt-brine solution.
Contact Tom Embrey at email@example.com.
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