Icy roads blamed for numerous vehicle wrecks across Whatcom County; state trooper injured

Woman unhurt after rolling car into ditch in Lynden Monday morning

Alicia Torres was turning into work when her car slid on black ice, rolling into a ditch in Lynden Monday morning, Jan 9, 2017.
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Alicia Torres was turning into work when her car slid on black ice, rolling into a ditch in Lynden Monday morning, Jan 9, 2017.

Numerous vehicle wrecks were reported across Whatcom County on Monday morning, as rain fell Sunday night and then froze, making for perilous road conditions during the morning commute.

Most of the wrecks caused minor injuries or were non-injury, according to police, fire officials and radio dispatches. More than a dozen crashes were reported, including several rollovers and cars skidded and spun on icy roadways.

“It sounds like it’s been a busy morning countywide,” said Assistant Chief Larry Hoffman of Whatcom County Fire District 7, which serves the Ferndale area. “I think it’s catching people by surprise as they’re driving and their temperature gauge says 39 degrees. They get a false sense of security.”

A Washington State Patrol trooper suffered minor injuries when his cruiser was struck by a car as he investigated a crash near the Peace Portal Drive freeway access in Blaine, Trooper Heather Axtman said.

“He had requested a (Department of Transportation) truck for sand, and shortly after he was hit by a car that spun out of control on the ice,” Axtman said. She said the trooper sought medical attention, but his injuries weren’t serious.

Axtman said troopers in Whatcom County responded to 10 traffic incidents from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. No serious injuries were reported.

Chuckanut Drive was restricted to one lane with alternating traffic for about an hour around 9 a.m. after a crash at milepost 14 near Larrabee State Park, according to a statement from the state Department of Transportation. A wreck was reported on Lake Whatcom Boulevard shortly after 8 a.m.

North Whatcom Fire and Rescue crews were busy responding to crashes along Guide Meridian and Hannegan roads. Lynden Fire Department crews responded to five minor traffic collisions Monday morning – including a vehicle that landed upside down in a water-filled ditch, a Lynden fire official said. The driver, Alicia Torres, was able to escape the wreck and call 911.

In Ferndale, fire crews were kept similarly busy, Hoffman said. He said a semi truck carrying a double trailer jackknifed on southbound Interstate 5 at Grandview Road and a spinout was reported on Mountain View Road. He said he saw several vehicles that had skidded into a ditch, but their drivers simply needed a tow.

“It’s a good reminder for people to slow down,” Hoffman said.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty