RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina authorities saw a spike in wrecks on Sunday with two deadly crashes and with more than 1,000 incident calls for Sunday until 3 p.m., officials said.
One deadly crash happened late Sunday morning when a vehicle slid off a highway south of Asheboro and went down an embankment and then hit a tree in Montgomery County, according to N.C. Governor Roy Cooper.
One person died in the wreck and two people were injured, Cooper said at a 4 p.m. briefing.
Troopers identified the victim as Olvia Vera, 44.
Another deadly crash happened later Sunday in Duplin County, but officials were unsure Sunday night if it was related to the weather.
Cooper also spoke of the increase in wrecks on Sunday.
“A lot of people are seeing the sun … and feeling more confident about getting out on the roads,” Cooper said. “Do not risk driving unless it is necessary.”
Most collision calls throughout the state Sunday were in the Triangle area with 129 in an area east of Durham County though Edgecombe County, according to the N.C. Highway Patrol.
The second-highest area for Sunday collisions was 57 in the region that includes Durham County and Guilford County – where much more snow fell, officials said.
Overall, there were 346 statewide calls for crashes for the N.C. State Highway Patrol for Sunday until 3 p.m. There were 704 calls for service, which are for incidents other than wrecks, during the same period on Sunday.
Sunday evening, officials said the total number of statewide crashes is 1,505 starting midnight Friday through 6 p.m. Sunday. The calls for service are now at 3,146 for the same period.
Many roads in central North Carolina and across the state went untreated overnight as temperatures were too low for the chemicals used to clear roadways to be effective. Temperatures below 20 degrees render the chemicals useless. Lows in the Triangle went down to around 15 degrees and some spots in the state went even lower than that.
Highs on Sunday are only expected to reach the mid-20s in the Triangle and the low could be close to zero. Icy roads are expected to be an issue in many parts of central North Carolina until at least Tuesday afternoon as the high on Monday may not get out of the 20s. By Tuesday afternoon, temperature should be in the 40s.
The focus of many crews in the area has been the primary roads such as highways and interstates, not the secondary roads and neighborhood streets. Many secondary roads are in terrible condition with patches of ice and snow throughout.
Authorities in the Triangle haven’t reported any serious crashes, despite the extremely icy conditions.
The Durham County Sheriff’s office reported that there were no significant weather-related crashes reported overnight into Sunday morning. There had been three on Saturday. Although not significant, there were 12 incidents where a driver lost control on icy roads and slid off onto the shoulder or into a ditch, authorities said.
The sheriff’s office said that deputies report Interstate 85, N.C. Highway 147, and U.S. Route 70 are passable while N.C. Highway 98 is still affected by snow and ice.
Durham police tweeted a few photos of ice-covered roads with wrecked cars on them, but they haven’t reported any serious injuries as a result of those crashes. Police reported 39 crashes in the city on Saturday and another seven since midnight Sunday.
Town of Cary officials said there were three weather-related crashes, none of which resulted in injuries. At last check, crews had 600 tons of pure salt on hand, 900 tons of salt/sand mix, and 76 pieces of winter-weather equipment to use to clear Cary’s streets, the Town said.
Town of Hillsborough officials said police reported no major problems as of Sunday morning, despite the extremely icy conditions on the town’s roads. Snow and ice removal efforts had to be called off Saturday as temperatures got too low and the roads became too icy.
In Chapel Hill Sunday morning, officials reminded drivers to stay off the roads as crews would be working to clear them throughout the day. Officials also said that three Chapel Hill Transit routes had been cancelled – the weekend NU route that goes to Hillsborough Street, Stadium Drive and Ridge Road; the weekend U route that goes to Stadium Drive and Ridge Road; and the Tar Hell express locations at Southern Village, Airport Drive, Jones Ferry and Carolina Coffee Shop.
Chapel Hill officials also said that most secondary state-maintained streets have already been salted, plowed and re-salted. The Town is also working to expand sidewalk clearing in downtown and along major roads. Officials said the sidewalks being targeted are along both sides of Franklin Street to Rosemary Street, along the south side of Rosemary Street from Henderson Street to Columbia Street, and along both sides of the 100 block of N. Columbia Street.
Crews also cleared sidewalks along the east side of S. Columbia Street from Franklin Street to Cameron Avenue, N. Columbia Street from Rosemary Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, and along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard from N. Columbia Street to Homestead Road, officials said in a release. Crews will also work to clear along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard from N. Columbia Street to Homestead Road.
Roxboro Police Chief David Hess posted a picture of a road in the town that was covered in ice and glistening in the sun and advised the town’s residents to stay home and off the roads.
Halifax County Sheriff Wes Tripp said Sunday that roads throughout the are snow and ice-covered and residents should avoid traveling on them. No power outages have been reported in the county, but Tripp advised that everyone check on their neighbors to make sure they’re safe and warm.
Some positive news has come out of Fayetteville in regards to road conditions as the city has reported that all roads are clear and dry. Road maintenance efforts have been called off, but crews remain on standby.
Due to icy road conditions, GoTriangle and GoDurham bus services have cancelled all routes for Sunday.
Wake County Schools, Orange County Schools and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools have already cancelled classes for Monday.
Troopers continue to advise residents across the state remain home and off the roads unless it’s absolutely necessary to travel.