A late afternoon storm blanketed Washington County and surrounding areas with an inch of snow Monday, with many vehicles sliding off local roadways, including one pickup truck that reportedly ran off Ohio 7 and into the Ohio River near Newport.
Nicole M. January, 27, of Clarington was driving a 2006 Chevrolet Colorado north on Ohio 7 around 4:50 p.m. when she lost control of the vehicle, ran off the right side of the road, rolled down a steep embankment, and landed in the river about a mile south of Newport.
January was able to escape from the vehicle and swam to safety before the truck became submerged, according to a report from the Marietta post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Police said she was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.
January was transported to Marietta Memorial Hospital with non-incapacitating injuries by the Newport Emergency Squad.
Newport Volunteer Fire Department also assisted at the scene.
The pickup truck remained submerged Monday night, but a dive crew from the Marietta Fire Department will assist highway patrol officers in recovering the vehicle from the river on Tuesday.
Washington County was placed on Level 1 snow emergency status Monday evening, meaning roads are snow-covered and slippery, and drivers should use extreme caution.
"We've been getting quite a few accident calls keeping us, the highway patrol and city police pretty busy," said Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks.
He said the Level 1 snow emergency designation could remain in effect through Tuesday.
"It takes a while for county and township back roads to be treated, so even though main roads may be clear, we can't lift the snow emergency alert until all roads are cleared," Mincks explained.
Marietta police Officer Rhett Walters said there were a few minor snow-related accidents in town, mostly cars sliding off the roadways.
"The bridges and brick streets are always the worst when they're covered with snow and ice," he said.
City streets workers were on their way home when the snow began falling late Monday afternoon. Streets supervisor Todd Stockel said he called 10 of the workers back out to begin treating city roadways with a salt/sand mix.
He said crews treat the streets in each section of town according to a pre-set priority list.
"They go to both hospitals first, then hit the brick streets and bridges," Stockel said. "Then the trucks move on to main roads like Colegate Drive, Glendale Road, Cisler Drive, Gilman Avenue and Lancaster Street."
As of Monday evening, the official forecast from the National Weather Service in Charleston, W.Va., said it will be mostly sunny but cold today with high temperatures around 30. Tonight will be clear and cold with a low around 18 degrees. Wednesday is expected to be mostly sunny with highs in the mid 30s.