Icy Conditions Cause Many Accidents Across Area

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The freezing rain and sleet mix that fell across the area overnight created icy road conditions all across the area for the Tuesday morning commute.

There were several accidents as some roads in the city of Pittsburgh became ice-covered and hazardous to drive on.

It was shortly after 8 a.m. when Fallowfield Avenue in Beechview quickly began to resemble a junkyard.

The first vehicle to go was a golden car into the back of a white van. Moments later, a white Chevy Suburban spun around three times, stopping only after slamming into the back of a Pontiac.

Seconds after that, a silver Hyundai went crashing and careening down the road until it slammed into a white Mustang parked in a driveway.

“It’s a 2007 and it has under 6,000 miles,” said Don Worthylko, owner of the Mustang. “We try to park it there in the driveway cause we thought it would be safe.”

However, nothing was safe along that particular stretch of Fallowfield Avenue Tuesday morning. The area is no more than 200 yards between the crest of the hill and the very bottom of the street.

There were 10 cars that had significant or minor damage in that 200 yards and it didn’t matter whether they had four-wheel drive or two-wheel drive.

“All of the sudden, we were in a tailspin and that was it,” said Mark Ciancetta, a passenger involved in the crash.

City salt trucks and salt spreaders showed up about an hour later.

“This has been constantly like this for over 10 years,” added Worthylko. “I’ve seen it bad though, people hitting telephones poles and going up into porches and stuff like that, but this is the worst.”

Some residents say they would like to see access to the road, heading down the hill, closed off when the weather is bad; however, public works officials say there is very little they can do as Mother Nature has the upper hand on days like today.

Despite all the damage, there were no injuries other than one man who ran out of his home when he heard the crashing, slipped and cut his head.

Meanwhile, in Carrick, a driver lost control of an SUV and slid into someone’s front porch. It happened in the 1200-block of Transverse Avenue.

Officials say part of the porch’s roof fell onto the vehicle during the accident. There were no injuries.

In Fayette County, the icy roads caused a school bus to slide down a hillside. This accident happened in Connellsville on Wills Road Extension.

No one was injured, and the students were taken to school on another bus.

Elsewhere in the city of Pittsburgh, residents reported icy conditions on Caton Street in Squirrel Hill.

There was also a massive pile-up on Morrowfield Avenue in Greenfield. A driver tried to make his way up Flemington Street, and only hit the curb on his way back down.

“I made it almost all the way up and my car just started going sideways,” said Brian Bernhardt, the driver. “A police officer was at the corner just told me to stay there until a salt truck comes by.”

Neighbors on these Greenfield streets say the city never seems to salt the roads when they need it. They say Windsor Street is one of the worst in the city and is constantly ignored.

“I moved into this house a long time ago,” said Jeff Stein, a resident of the street. “This hill here is probably the worst hill in the city.”


One Comment

  1. Nick says:

    Couldn’t drive off of Caton St until after 10 Am this morning, I already wrecked my car once on this street, last winter, wasn’t about to do it again.

  2. Jon says:

    I was around the block from this. It was a complete sheet of ice. The City of Pittsburgh should be ashamed of their lack of salting!

  3. Pat says:

    Anyone stupid enough to try to drive down Fallowfield on a day like this deserves what they get.

    1. marsha says:

      Yes anyone who travels thru beechview knows fallowfield is a cobble stone street very steep and especially treacherous in freezing rain. How stupid can a person be. And with kids in the car.

      1. fallowfield victim says:

        fyi……the 1600 block of fallowfield IS NOT cobblestone.i live on this street and thank god kdka filmed this footage and now the whole nation knows how the city salt crews do their job,NOT!!!!

  4. Pauly says:

    Where is all the praise for the salt crews today. Hills like this should be a priority in these conditions.

  5. Bob says:

    It wasn’t just Fallowfield, it was half the side roads in Beechview. Half were salted, another half were not. Its deceptive when you come from the other suburbs where the roads are fine (because they are salted) and then hit Pittsburgh streets that were not touched.

  6. Mindy lou says:

    Where can I see the video?? My sister called me and told me about this!! I live in Erie, and I couldn’t believe what she was telling me!!

    1. gracie says:

      go to kdka.com and clich onto the live feed to see the video

  7. PGH says:

    If KDKA had the insight to have a camera in place why didn’t they have to insight to go and stop traffic before they got there pictures

    1. Ross Guidotti says:

      We heard about the problem on the scanner.. So shouldn’t the police have done that?

      1. Rbecker says:

        What next, why didn’t KDKA buy some salt trucks and go clear the ice? : )

      2. Disappointed fan says:

        Yes, police should have done it, but while you’re there, how about being a good neighbor and getting up there to warn folks? Or does that conflict with good ratings …

    2. Donald Howard says:

      I agree. If KDKA had the insite to be there and set up thier cameras. They should have been up there doing a report on warning people. NOT just standing there taking video and watching it happen. What if this would have caused a catastrophie, injury, or even heaven forbid if someone died in an accident. I think peoples lives are more important than ratings. What would you do if you saw someone having a heart attack on the street? Would you just stand there and take a video or help save a life??? And ALL of the news channels wonder why viewership is dropping? Maybe, just MAYBE if they would become more community oriented, Understand the morals of right from wrong, and Smarts over Stupidity this city would be a better place to live. (Now lets see if this post stays or becomes censored.)

      1. Amy F says:

        I do believe this is amateur video and not KDKA camera people. Don’t you hear the commentary on the video and that the person/people who were recording it did call 911?

  8. nicole liddle says:

    is this true please somebody email me jetskifan2000@yahoo.com

  9. Josh says:

    We have been dealing with this problem in Beechview for years. The last snow that we had 3-4 inches come down, we didn’t get a salt truck for over 24 hours. This past Februrary, we didn’t see a snow plow for a week! My street is just as steep as Fallowield. They should make the hills a priority. We are all working class folks and we have jobs to get to. It’s no wonder that people are leaving the city.

  10. Richard says:

    i lived in beechview for my whole life and this is not a suprise wheter it was an ice storm or just some snow, a lot of streets in beechview never get touched during the winter

  11. KDKA should be ashamed says:

    this is downright sickening that KDKA stood there and just watched with their cameras just so they can claim that they are the only ones with this footage. thousands of dollars in damage could have been easily prevented.
    luckily nobody was hurt, but how can you just stand there and watch? someone could’ve have easily been killed, especially when the people had to exit their cars as more slid down behind them

    1. Darrell says:

      The cameraman was talking to 911 as he was filming.

    2. connie says:

      you are an idiot where do you think the news crew gets most of their videos? From people who were at the scene cant you see in the video it is being recorded from a home and that the person is on the phone with 911. Besides, i have driven down this road many times years ago taking my kids to school and one minute it is fine and the next black ice. nothing you can do but hold your breath until you come to a stop

  12. Rupert says:

    Wow you really think that KDKA setup a camera just to capture unfortunate people coming down that icy hill? It couldn’t be possible that someone just happen to have one of those fancy mobile phone thingees do ya, huh? Amazing the level of ignorance!

  13. Paul says:

    I lived on Fallowfield Avenue for almost 10 years. My parents still live on the block I grew up in, which was the one-way block NEXT to the one shown in the video. Growing up my father avoided that hill, something I do to this day when I visit my parents.

    When the city block shown in the Video was Belgium Block, no one took it for the city block, do to deferred maintenance by the City, had all types of dips and thus a rough ride even in summer. About 20 years ago the City decided to pave that block to eliminate the dips (The better solution would have been to reset the block, but that required manual labor so the city just paved over the block).

    Ever since, when it comes to ice or snow, people have traveled over that hill, as I pointed out above, something I avoid (Many to go to Brashear High School). At the intersection of Crane and Beechview there is a red-light, but you avoid that red-light if you take Fallowfield and then turn right to Brasher High School. While the red light can slow you down, if you take Beechview Avenue you avoid the hill shown in the Video and the even steeper and longer hill on the other side of that ridge as you go down Fallowfield to Crane.

    It is just stupid to go up that hill in any type of bad weather unless you lived on those blocks, and even then it is better to go Beechview then cross back.

    As to the salt crews, they hit Beechview Avenue, the one-way block of Fallowfield Avenue where my parents live, and Sebring Avenue, which connect the two streets and kept them open. The two one way blocks of Beechview and Fallowfield and the two way part of Beechview Avenue is also the snow removal route and the route one should take in bad weather NOT go over Fallowfield Hill.

    While I can NOT see anything the City salt crew could have done to prevent this from happening (you only have so many trucks AND snow removal routes must come first) the City used to have a Salt Box at the bottom and the top of that hill so that residents could salt the road if it was needed. The City would fill these boxes up and people would use the salt on the roads and their sidewalks (Technically the salt was for the Roads only, but given the price the city was paying for salt, a minor loss).

    Just pointing out the problems the driver’s had with this block is the result of them taking that hill WHEN THEY HAD NO REASON TO DO SO. You had an alternative, a slower street, for it is a tight two way street, but nowhere near the steepness of that block of Fallowfield.

  14. raul says:

    These conditions are not uncommon where i live.But our cities and states crews are well equipped(funded) to take care of such things.Pburg is not snow country.Sure they get some but crews aren’t trained or funded to deal with these uncommon occurrences. Pats answer above reflects that the city dwellers seem to lack enough sense to stay off areas like this. These things are learned Albeit the hard way by us folks up north.Iron city folks lack this experience.Not that they are stupid just naive.

  15. Brian says:

    Well, maybe KDKA can tell us how they acquired this footage?

  16. PAULY says:


  17. Darrell Gifford says:

    Interesting that KDKA can find the icy roads but the salt trucks can’t. My brother wrecked on the same stretch of road a few years back, slid right through the intersection and down the hill into a parked mini-van. Maybe PennDot should prioritize these streets.

  18. Paul says:

    I viewed the film again, I made a mistake, this is the other Fallowfield hill, parallel to Broadway not Beechview Avenue. It is longer then the hill I was talking about above and as such more of a problem. The cross roads are limited, one on top of the hill one on the bottom. It is two way traffic, but narrow by today’s standards. It is steep. That block, according to Google ranges from 30-35% slope (i.e. for every 100 feet in length, elevation goes up 30-35 feet). This is about the overall slope of Canton (Through some parts of Canton reaches 74% slope according to Google). Canton is considered the steepest street in the world that is actually used. See for more details on Canton Street. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canton_Avenue When I first saw the video I presumed it was people running the hill to avoid a red light, now it looks like people having to go down that street just to get to work. One of the problems with Beechview that Beechview was designed for people to walk to the Streetcar and take it to work NOT to drive to work.

  19. Barbara says:

    Ok I have read some of the comments. First they told you it was a photographer that shot this video not KDKA so quit blaming them. Second thing I read was about them not salting. Ok a blanket of ice covered the city no matter where you lived. They have been calling for this ice since Friday, it wasn’t a new thing that just happened overnight. Do people who live in the city understand how hard it is for these trucks to get up and down some of these streets? I understand that people go to work but if you slipped going to your car would you chance it driving until it warmed up. And one last gripe. It doesn’t matter what kind of car you have, ice is ice and you are going to slide on it no matter what. I have a four wheel drive and slid right of a main road a few years back.

  20. Cole Foreman says:

    It may have been icy and cold, but Heather Abraham is Hot. She should have been able to melt that ice. Know what i’m sayin?

  21. Fallowfield Resident says:

    It was KDKA that shot the video. Prior to the accident I saw the van parked at the top of the other end of Fallowfield at the T station. I assumed they were taking stock footage of icy roads when all hell broke loose. On the noon news they even said the cameraman’s name on the air.

  22. Ellen May says:

    Anyone who thinks residents should have walked up that hill to warn motorist is out of their minds. I had a bad fall myself yesterday. You couldn’t take a step without falling. Anyone trying to walk in the area would have been killed by flying cars.

  23. old fallowfield resident says:

    Just saw this video today…this is the exact reason I moved late november of this year off of this street….last feb, we didn’t see snow plow for a week. I wasn’t about to deal with it again!

  24. Eric Olsen says:

    The city should be held responsible for this. They should have closed the street off if they knew it was dangerous or applied more salt. KDKA is not responsible for salting the streets or for public safety!

  25. Good Samaritan says:

    why are people defending KDKA? you can’t see over down that street until its too late and a good number of streets around Beechview had been salted.
    it was not a neighbor that filmed this, it was KDKA. when proudly showing off their footage, they said “OUR photographer”.

    they could have easily gotten around to the top of the hill by going up broadway, but then they wouldn’t have got all of this amazing footage that got them on national news! Good for you KDKA, you should be proud.

  26. my comment says:

    I am so glad that no one, as least reported was seriously hurt. Seeing Pittsburgh, my hometown and those streets that I am so familiar with, on my local news out here in the San Francisco bay area, was a shock and a worry. And no one can seriously believe that the cameras of the TV station was waiting there for an accident to happen!
    We have black ice here, in the north bay in the winter, not as bad as Pittsburgh, but don’t drive if you don’t have to.

  27. Pete says:

    I run a road crew and we had similar problems on the day of frezing rain. Remember, December was what (?), the fifth coldest on record? So the ground temperature got really cold. You put rain on top of something that cold, it’s going to freeze. You salt it, it melts, and then the salt gradually gets diluted, and the road surface freezes again.
    Remember the movie where the kid stuck his warm wet tongue on a freezing cold flag pole? Same result!

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