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NJ Roads Turn Icy; Fatal Crash in Pine Hill

Roads around New Jersey turned icy Friday as a wintry mix of snow and freezing rain began falling during the morning commute. Many accidents, including at least one fatal crash, are being reported.

An accident in Hamilton (Mercer County)
An accident in Hamilton (Mercer County) (Rob Rittenhouse, Townsquare Media NJ)

One person is dead after a motor vehicle crashed into a Philadelphia-bound New Jersey Transit bus in Pine Hill just after 7 a.m. New Jersey Transit spokesman John Durso Jr. says the bus operator told officials the car was approaching the bus from the other side of the road when it spun out of control and struck the front of the bus

The driver of the car was killed and a passenger was seriously injured. No names have been released. Durso say 17 of the 21 passengers on the bus were treated at a hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. The bus driver was not injured.

The Asbury Park Press reports a fatal accident on the the Beaver Dam Bridge between Point Pleasant and Brick in an 11 car crash.

Manchester Police responded to 21 accidents between 6:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. including one that injured a Manchester police officer according to the Ocean County Signal. Barnegat Police in a post on their Facebook page say they responded to 25 calls in a 90-minute period including a mulri-car crash and several overturned vehicles.

New Jersey State Police in south Jersey responded to more than 250 calls from motorists during a four-hour period

A Freezing Rain Advisory is in effect for most of the state until 1p.m.  as many roads iced up. Spin-outs and fender benders tied up traffic. New Jersey Fast Traffic reported multiple accidents on the Garden State Parkway in southern Ocean County and on Routes 70 and 72. Police and Emergency Management issued warnings for drivers to be careful on the roads or to stay off them if possible.

Joe Dee, spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Transportation, tells New Jersey 101.5 that drivers to “be careful everywhere right now” as conditions are “treacherous.” .

Dee explains that the icing conditions have developed because rain  freezes on contact with surfaces because the temperatures are below freezing.Temperatures are not expected to rise above freezing until early afternoon. NJ DOT has 600 pieces of equipment spreading salt on state highways

The icing developed too late for schools to be closed or delayed and several minor accidents involving buses were reported.

The Jackson School District ordered all school buses off the road, according to the district website but allowed them to resume their runs after 10 a.m.  “Police have advised us that it is safe for our district buses to resume their runs. Our drivers will continue to use extreme caution to operate at safe, slow speeds,” said the district in an updated message.

All buses will be delayed in their arrival at schools, the district said.


An NJ Transit bus involved in a fatal accident in Pine Hill
An NJ Transit bus involved in a fatal accident in Pine Hill (Twitter)

Barnegat Police, on their Facebook page, warned of “extreme icing conditions” and reported they were responding to a number of accidents. The Burlington County Times tweeted there were “multiple accidents” in Mount Laurel, Medford Lakes and Tabernacle.

NBC 10′s Ted Greenberg tweeted that Hammonton Police reported 3 accidents within 20 minutes. Egg Harbor Township police tweeted they had 5 accidents within 30 minutes of each other.

Flooding a Threat from more Rain on Saturday

After a break from precipitation on Friday afternoon temperatures are forecast to rise above freezing and bring heavy rains of at least 2 inches through Saturday. There is also a chance of thunder.

According to a National Weather Service briefing on the weekend storm the warm temperatures will help unclog the ice jam from the Delaware River and other area rivers but could also cause major rive flooding.Residents who live near the river should be prepared to move quickly if flooding should happen. A Flood Watch is in effect all day Saturday.

Local flooding is also possible from heavy rainfall and the frozen ground.Winds could be strong in southern areas and there could even be thunder.

 

MORE COVERAGE:

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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