February 6, 2011

Slippery Conditions Cause Multi-Vehicle Crashes in Collegetown

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Slippery roads covered in slush, ice and snow caused several multiple-car crashes that snarled traffic throughout Collegetown Saturday night.

A TCAT bus merging westward onto East State Street from Mitchell Street slid out of control and wedged its wheels on the curb of the sidewalk, resulting in a crash that involved six cars.

Ashley Brown ’12 was in the passenger seat of the third car involved in the crash. She was on her way home from work at Manndible Cafe and was driven by a co-worker. She said road conditions throughout campus were dangerous Saturday night.

Witnesses said that there were no injuries in the crash, and the passengers on the TCAT bus were able to walk off the vehicle.

Brown said the crash happened in a matter of seconds, but the cars hit each other at a very slow rate of speed.

The crash occurred at about 6:50 p.m., according to witnesses, but police did not respond until about 7:40 p.m. Police were busy through the night responding to crashes and cars that had drifted off roads throughout Tompkins County.

In the adjacent lane of traffic on Mitchell Street, there was a separate crash involving two cars that were merging eastward from East State Street.

“Aye, aye aye,” said the sole police officer as he arrived on the scene and surveyed the six- and two-car pileups. He gathered all the drivers inside the TCAT bus for shelter as he collected information from them and they filled out paperwork.

The officer eventually shut down traffic in both directions on East State Street so the bus could continue sliding down the hill, freeing the five cars piled up behind it.

In a separate crash on College Avenue at the intersection of Catherine Street, across from Jason’s Grocery and Deli, another TCAT bus was involved in an accident with a Volvo. The vehicles blocked both lanes of College Avenue.

Greg Braciak ’14, who was driving a Mazda pickup truck, was stuck behind the TCAT bus. He received help from passersby to push his car off an ice patch and to reverse his direction. Braciak had managed to avoid crashing into the TCAT bus, which was just several feet in front of his vehicle.

He was trying to make his way down to The Commons for dinner.

“I guess we’ll have to stay in Collegetown tonight,” he said.

On sidewalks, people fell and slid as they made their way through the icy conditions.

Original Author: Michael Stratford