Ice storm causes three deaths on roads in South

By David Beasley

ATLANTA (BestGrowthStock) – Icy roads in the Deep South caused three traffic fatalities in Alabama, 1,000 vehicle crashes in metro Atlanta and forced many north Georgia schools to close on Thursday, authorities said.

The deaths occurred in Pike County and Lowndes County, southeastern Alabama, on Wednesday, said Jerry Coggins a meteorologist with the National Weather Service based in Birmingham.

“There was one fatality in Lowndes County where an EMT (emergency medical technician) responding to a weather-related motor vehicle accident was struck and killed by an out-of-control car,” Coggins said in an interview.

In Cherokee County, north of Atlanta, authorities responded to more than 300 accidents from 4 p.m. Wednesday to early Thursday, said Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Jay Baker.

Many motorists, unable to get through the ice and traffic jams, simply walked home, said Baker.

“We had many, many vehicles that were just abandoned on the roadways,” he said. Schools in at least three north Georgia counties were closed on Thursday due to icy roads.

Police responded to more than 200 accidents on Wednesday evening, said Mekka Parish, spokeswoman for Georgia’s DeKalb county.

Other Atlanta counties also reported hundreds of wrecks and the state patrol logged 83 wrecks in metro Atlanta in a 45 minute period on Wednesday and hundreds more in other northern parts of the state, said agency spokesman Gordy Wright.

Atlanta faced record low temperatures earlier this month, but the cold snap is expected to ease across the south on Thursday, metrologists said.

There was one traffic fatality in Mississippi amid other traffic accidents, but it was unclear whether it was caused by icy roads, said Jared Allen, National Weather Service meteorologist in the state capital.

Away from the south, snow began to fall in the nation’s capital of Washington and there were numerous car crashes caused by icy weather in Missouri and southern Illinois.

But winter was not just affecting traffic. 59 students at a school in Alexandria Township, New Jersey, have had strep throat or scarlet fever this season. That figure represents 25 percent of the school’s 240 students. Health officials said they were investigating.

(Additional reporting by Verna Gates in Birmingham, Jerry Norton in Washington, Aman Ali in New York, writing by Matthew Bigg, editing by Greg McCune)

Ice storm causes three deaths on roads in South