Winter storm causes almost 500 traffic crashes in Virginia and governor cancels open house

The East Coast is being battered by a major winter storm bringing snow and icy rain on Sunday and through the public holiday

Rachel Sharp
Monday 17 January 2022 14:15
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<p>Troopers responding to a crash involving four tractor-trailers and a pickup truck  in Montgomery County on Sunday </p>

Troopers responding to a crash involving four tractor-trailers and a pickup truck in Montgomery County on Sunday

A major winter storm has caused almost 500 road traffic crashes in Virginia and led the new governor to cancel his open house, as he urged people to stay home.

Virginia State Police responded to almost 1,000 traffic crashes and disabled vehicles between midnight and 8pm on Sunday across the state, as Virginia was battered with snow and icy rain.

The agency’s Twitter page said the incidents included 482 traffic crashes and 486 disabled vehicles.

No fatalities were reported with officials confirming most of the crashes involved only damage to vehicles.

In total, 144 of these crashes were attended to by the Richmond division of the state police, which serves the cities of Colonial Heights, Hopewell, Petersburg, and Richmond, as well as the surrounding counties including Goochland County.

Troopers were called to a crash along the I-64 east in Goochland County at around 5:30pm on Sunday afternoon, when a pickup truck towing a long trailer lost control and plowed into a minivan.

People in both vehicles escaped unscathed, according to the state police.

Over in Montgomery County, troopers responded to a crash involving four tractor-trailers and a pickup truck on the I-81 north just before 3:30pm.

Two people suffered minor injuries in the crash, officials said.

State police urged people to avoid traveling into or through Virginia on Sunday as the storm continued to make its pathway across the state.

On Monday morning, residents were asked to “be a bit more patient” and continue to delay their travel until the conditions improve further because the “roads are still slick this AM until the temperatures rise”, Virginia State Police tweeted.

All flights in and out of the Lynchburg and Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional airports were canceled on Sunday, with several flights also cancelled on Monday morning.

The winter storm, which began Sunday morning, is sweeping the East Coast, bringing snow and freezing rain through the Martin Luther King Jr. public holiday.

More than 50 million people in the northeast woke up to winter weather alerts on Monday morning, while thousands of homes were left without power.

In Virginia, 14,000 power outages were reported as of 8:46am on Monday morning, while flights were grounded, the National Guard was activated and the governor cancelled his open house.

Governor Glenn Youngkin, who was inaugurated just one day earlier on Saturday, canceled the Spirit of Togetherness Open House on Sunday morning ahead of the event that afternoon.

“As a result of the inclement weather, and in an effort to keep Virginians off the roads, we are postponing today’s open house at the Governor’s mansion. Please be safe,” he wrote in a Facebook post.

The National Guard, whose troops were deployed to the inauguration the day before, announced it had staged around 75 Guards members in multiple locations across Virginia for possible winter storm response operations.

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