PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Police say the weekend’s early snowstorm surprised drivers across the region who underestimated the danger it could cause, leading to hundreds of accidents.
Overnight Saturday into Sunday, there were so many incidents, Pennsylvania State Police say they had a hard time keeping up.
A 35-vehicle crash backed up traffic on Interstate 95 and 12 cars collided in the express construction lane on the Blue Route Sunday morning, some of which burst into flames. Luckily, neither accident led to serious injuries.
That was not the case, however, on the Pennsylvania Turnpike early Sunday morning. Police say Richard Nagbe, 25, and Dehkontee Kpou, 31, died when the car they were in veered off Interstate 95 and rolled onto the Turnpike below. Two other passengers were injured.
“We’re absolutely lucky there weren’t more deaths,” said Pennsylvania State Police spokeswoman Trooper Danea Durham. “The roads froze over very quickly. I don’t think any of us were expecting the amount of ice that we had.”
State Police out of Philadelphia say they responded to double the number of serious accidents for an average weekend. Just in Philadelphia, Montgomery and Delaware counties, State Police were called to 272 incidents.
PennDOT officials say the storm was much more intense and lasted much longer than forecast.
“It just came a lot quicker than we thought,” said spokesman Nick Martino. “We had to bring in more trucks, and the snow was falling heavily.”
PennDOT says it activated 355 trucks in the five-county Philadelphia area at the height of the storm Saturday afternoon, which means this early winter weather will cost at least $1 million. PennDOT’s snow and ice removal budget for the upcoming winter season is just shy of $32 million.
Reported by Ben Simmoneau, CBS 3