MIDLAND (KDKA) – One person was killed in a two-vehicle accident in Beaver County Wednesday morning.
It was not long after day break, around 7:30 p.m., when one car entered the Shippingport Bridge from the south and two were coming from the north.
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“The one vehicle lost control going north and he struck… the first one coming south on the bridge, and then he hit the second one behind him,” said Chief Robert Davis, of Shippingport Police.
The driver of the first southbound car was killed. The other two drivers were only slightly injured.
First responders arriving on the scene say they found standing up and walking on the bridge difficult.
“It was slippery,” said Shippingport VFD Assistant Chief Mike Kilcoyne. “It’s a bridge over a river covered in ice; it was slippery.”
Chief Davis says there is no doubt what caused the ice.
“The bridge had frozen over from the [power plant] towers, and the mist from them gets on the bridge, and when you have the icing conditions, it forms,” he said.
Chief Davis says when they see it, they call in a PennDOT truck to salt the bridge. In fact, this afternoon we saw a PennDOT truck on its normal rounds, checking and salting the bridge.
First Energy’s Jennifer Young says while their sympathies go to those involved in today’s accident, the company has never been notified of a problem with ice on the bridge, and that it’s a state bridge and would not be the company’s responsibility to maintain.
PennDOT’s Dan Cessna told KDKA’s John Shumway by phone that the bridge is on District 11’s regular maintenance routes, but they also have never been notified of a recurring problem with ice on the bridge.
“We did do a five-year crash query on that bridge and there was only one reportable crash in the past five years, and that was during the month of August,” said Cessna. “So we have not had any winter reportable crashes on that bridge.”
Chief Davis says there’s no way to predict when the ice will form.
“The only thing you can do is get there a head of time, that’s all timing,” he said.