Storm Leaves Treacherous Roadways in Its Wake

  • One of the vehicles involved in a fatal accident on Route 4 in Lebanon, N.H., is removed from the scene on March 8, 2018. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • The approximate location of the closure of Route 4 in Lebanon, N.H., on March 8, 2018, is indicated on this map provided by city officials.

Valley News Staff Writer
Thursday, March 08, 2018

Lebanon — A 58-year-old Enfield man died in a crash on Route 4 after a truck with a snowplow allegedly lost control during Thursday’s snowstorm and struck the front of his pickup truck, police said.

Authorities reported numerous crashes throughout the Upper Valley on Thursday, the result of a storm that blanketed much of the Northeast and dumped more than a foot of snow in many towns. The storm was the second powerful system to slam New England in less than a week.

More than 800,000 customers were reported to be without power in the Northeast, including some who have been without electricity since last Friday’s destructive nor’easter. Thousands of flights across the region were canceled, and traveling on the ground was treacherous.

Robert Rogers, who died in the crash just west of Eastman Hill in Lebanon shortly before 6 a.m., was driving a GMC Sierra pickup truck. His truck collided with a 2001 Chevrolet 3500 dump truck operated by Andrew Kannler, 48, of Grafton, according to a news release from New Hampshire State Police. The cause of the crash is under investigation, according to the release.

Kannler could not be reached for comment. A person who answered the door at Rogers’ home declined to speak with a reporter.

Anyone with further information about the fatal Route 4 crash is asked to contact Trooper Daniel Quartulli at daniel.quartulli@dos.nh.gov or 603-223-8993.

The roadway was closed for more than four hours following the crash, which was one of many crashes around the Upper Valley during a snowstorm that began in earnest on Wednesday evening, intensified overnight and transitioned to off-and-on snow showers on Thursday.

Snow-covered roads made for difficult driving conditions overnight and into the morning. Lyme police on Thursday morning said “all roads in Lyme are in very poor condition.”

“The dirt roads are very treacherous given that you cannot differentiate where the road and the ditches are and if you get too far over, you will be stuck,” Lyme police warned in a Listserv post on Thursday morning.

One Lyme Highway Department truck was stuck “due to an unseen washout on a dirt road,” and Bailey Hill Road was closed for a while due to several large sinkholes, the post said.

Hanover Town Manager Julia Griffin said the storm cleanup was “certainly nothing that our road crew has not seen before,” noting that plow crews dealt with an ice layer under the snow by applying sand and brine.

Elsewhere, Route 4 in Woodstock was closed for a few hours just west of Woodstock Village due to a tree across the road.

Vermont State Police from the Royalton Barracks said they responded to four accidents involving tractor-trailers on Wednesday night. Trucks in various incidents either crashed, slid into the median or caused others to crash, the troopers said in a release on Thursday.

On Interstate 91 in Hartford, a tractor-trailer “jackknifed then rolled over, blocking both lanes of the interstate,” state police said. “Another tractor-trailer crashed into it, breaking it into two pieces and causing I-91 in Hartford to be closed for approximately five hours.”

Hartford Town Manager Leo Pullar said the I-91 accident was among a handful of crashes in his town during the storm. None, to his knowledge, resulted in serious injuries.

In an interview around 4 p.m. on Thursday, Pullar said Hartford’s highway workers recently had taken a break after clearing the roads since 6:30 the previous night. With snow falling again and starting to stick, there was a chance they were going to be deployed again.

Meanwhile, he had some advice for the public.

“Folks need to just (not) go out unless they have to,” he said, “and when they do, drive safe, drive slow.”

While the Upper Valley received its fair share of snow, other parts of the Northeast saw accumulations that exceeded 2 feet.

The Mount Snow ski area in Dover, Vt., received 31 inches of snow by Thursday morning, with more still falling. The resort said the snowfall from the past two storms would set it up for skiing through the middle of April.

Montville, N.J., got more than 26 inches from Wednesday’s nor’easter. North Adams, Mass., registered 24 inches, and Sloatsburg, N.Y., got 26 inches.

The storm was not as severe as the nor’easter that toppled trees, flooded coastal communities and caused more than 2 million power outages from Virginia to Maine last Friday.

The Associated Press and Valley News staff writer John P. Gregg contributed to this report.

Rob Wolfe can be reached at rwolfe@vnews.com or at 603-727-3242.