Freezing rain snarls traffic in northern NJ

December 13, 2009 8:24:22 PM PST
Freezing rain caused icy driving conditions that led to numerous accidents and forced police to close several highways in parts of northern New Jersey Sunday. State Police shut down portions of Interstates 78, 80, 280 and 287 due to ice and accidents, Sgt. Stephen Jones said. "Driving was too treacherous," he said.

State troopers received between 120 and 130 accident calls between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Road crews worked to spread sand and salt so vehicles could get traction. However, the effort came too late for some motorists.

"We just got hammered," Wayne Police Lt. Wayne Lougheed said.

The police department received calls for 37 accidents involving more than 90 vehicles, 7 ambulance requests, a house fire and a transformer fire between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. There normally is about 15 calls during that period on a typical Sunday.

There were three accidents all in the same area of Route 23 involving 17 vehicles, Lougheed said.

Jones said there were numerous injuries, although their severity was not known.

The situation improved once temperatures rose above freezing.