Snow brings flurry of crashes in Washington County

The weather might have contributed to a fatal crash on I-79 in Amwell Township

February 13, 2014
Jonathan Charles Silko, 27, of Scott Township, died of blunt force trauma to the head when the driver’s side of his car struck the the rear of a tractor-trailer parked on the shoulder of Interstate 79 in Amwell Township shortly after 11:30 a.m. - Jim McNutt / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

Another round of snow showers caused a flurry of accidents throughout the day Thursday and likely contributed to a fatal crash on Interstate 79 in Amwell Township.

State police said they responded to 15 crashes in Washington County, mostly on the interstates, during the peak of a storm that dropped 2 to 4 inches of snow in the area.

Most of those accidents did not involve serious injuries, state police said, although one driver died when his car slid into the back of a tractor-trailer parked on the shoulder of I-79 near the Marianna exit.

Jonathan Charles Silko, 27, of Scott Township, was driving south when he lost control of his car on the snow-covered highway and crashed into the trailer about 9:45 a.m., Washington County Coroner Timothy Warco said. The driver’s side of Silko’s car hit the trailer and he died of blunt force trauma to the head.

State police are investigating the crash and were assisted at the scene by Lone Pine and South Strabane fire departments.

Washington County emergency dispatchers said they received a rash of crash reports across the county between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. The accidents continued after the snowfall ended.

A truck crashed into a school bus carrying Trinity Area students on Weaver Run Road in Amwell Township shortly before 4 p.m. Five middle and high school students were on the bus at the time of the crash, school officials said. One student suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene, an emergency dispatcher said.

About the same time, state police responded to a rollover crash on I-79 near the Canonsburg exit. It was not immediately known if anyone was injured in that accident.

Although the winter storm brought more snow than originally predicted, Washington and Greene counties were still spared from higher accumulations in the east.

Brad Rehak, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh, said eastern Washington County received about 4 inches while the northwestern section saw a little more than an inch of snow. Greene County had similar totals with the highest accumulations in the southeast corner.

That paled in comparison to the Laurel Highlands to the east, which received 12 to 14 inches of snow on the ridges, Rehak said.

Mike Jones has been a news reporter since 2005, covering crime, state and municipal government, education and energy. In addition to working at the Observer-Reporter, he also has spent time at the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail and He holds a journalism degree from West Virginia University.

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