Carroll County Times
Carroll County

Police remind motorists drive safe during dangerous weather conditions

Police are reminding motorists to be extra vigilant when driving on Carroll roads during poor weather conditions, after slick roads played a role in the fatal crash that took the life of a Westminster mother Monday.

It was the fourth deadly vehicle collision in the county this year.

"It's imperative that people take their time and give themselves extra time particularly in poor weather and road conditions," said Col. Phil Kasten, of the Carroll County Sheriff's Office.

There was an unexpected snowfall Monday that caused approximately one half-inch of snow in Carroll, according to the National Weather Service, creating slush on the roadways and making the surface slick.

The sheriff's office, which handles county roads, responded to 14 incidents Monday as the roads were slick from the accumulation. Maryland State Police, which handles state roads, responded to 11 incidents.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there is a likelihood for a wintry mix to fall throughout Central Maryland, including Carroll County, Sunday and into Monday.

Jill Bowers, 45, died Monday after her vehicle was involved in a head-on collision in the 2300 block of Uniontown Road. The driver of the second vehicle involved in the collision, 18-year-old Kendyl Puckett, was released Tuesday from the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

The sheriff's office is conducting an investigation of the crash and will determine whether charges will be filed for the incident based on its findings, Kasten said.

"Traffic safety is a paramount concern in every community, particularly in Carroll County where such a large percentage of our population commutes," Kasten said. "And they commute on the same roadways that our children are riding on the school buses and going to school on, and joined by commuters from southern Pennsylvania."

Last year was the deadliest year on Carroll roads in three years. In 2012, there were 20 traffic-related deaths on Carroll roadways, according to statistics from Maryland State Police.

There were 13 traffic-related fatalities in the county in 2011 and 18 in 2010, according to data from the National Highway State Traffic Administration.

Monday's crash was the fourth in the first 12 weeks of 2013.

There were two fatal vehicle collisions in January. On Jan. 14, a 6-year-old Union Bridge girl died after a single-vehicle crash on Md. 31 near Wakefield Valley Road. Jan. 21, a 29-year-old New Windsor man was killed after his vehicle struck a van on Md. 140 in Finksburg during a police chase; and in February, a Manchester Valley High School math teacher died in a vehicle crash on Sullivan Road near Md. 27 in Westminster.

Beyond weather conditions, Kasten said drivers should always take heed to slow down and pay attention on the road.

"Excessive speed and distracted driving continue to be the greatest cause of motor vehicle collisions in Carroll, including fatal motor vehicle collisions," Kasten said.