Storm dumps snow, sends cars and trucks sliding


BENNINGTON -- Police said a steady snowfall that dumped more than a foot of snow across the region over the weekend caused several dozen cars to slide off the road Saturday and Sunday.

Conditions forced the closing of Route 9 in Woodford and Searsburg on and off each day while "eight to 10" tractor trailers not equipped with snow tires had to be pulled up the mountain or guided back down it, Vermont State Police Sgt. Michael Marvin said.

Marvin said when these tractor trailers got stuck police would have to shut the road down and call tow trucks to hook large straps to the trucks and tow them to the top of the mountain before re-opening the road.

While many states have laws that require tractor trailers to ride on snow tires in the winter, Vermont does not, which Marvin said contributed to the number of large trucks unable to navigate the mountain.

In addition to tractor trailers, Marvin said a number of other vehicles were also having trouble trekking Route 9 in Woodford and Searsburg.

Mostly SUVs

"On Route 9 a couple dozen cars went off the road -- mostly all-wheel drive SUV vehicles with summer tires that were driving too fast," Marvin said. "You can’t stop any faster in an SUV ... what happens with some of these SUVs is they get too confident and the next thing you know they go off the road."

Besides Route 9, which is always a difficult road to navigate in the snow, Marvin said more than a dozen vehicles slid off Route 7 between Bennington and Manchester over the weekend as well.

Marvin said there were a number of multiple vehicle accidents that troopers responded to, although for the most part people were not injured.

One accident that did result in injury that State Police from the Shaftsbury barracks responded to occurred on Route 100 in Readsboro.

Police said Meghan M. McVurney, 19, of Readsboro was driving a Ford F-150 pickup southbound behind a snow plow around 9 a.m. Sunday when she drifted into the northbound lane and collided with a Heartwellville Towing flatbed tow truck driven by Mark S. Braman, 48 of Readsboro.

Police said neither operator saw the other prior to colliding due to the whiteout conditions created by the snowplow.

Police said both operators were wearing seat belts and McVurney was transported to North Adams Regional Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Both vehicles sustained major front damage, police said.

To keep up with the large number of accidents, Marvin said troopers worked longer shifts over the weekend because there are not enough troopers to respond to all the calls.

"What we’ve been doing is troopers have been working 12 to 15 hour shifts the last four days of this storm," Marvin said. "We don’t have enough people to put on so what’s happening is we’re out early and home late on both shifts."

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