'The roads are awful': 1 killed in crash near Felton, officials urge caution in snow

·2 min read

Delaware transportation officials are urging residents to stay home unless absolutely necessary due to Monday's "nasty" road conditions across much of the state and elsewhere in the Delmarva Peninsula.

One motorist died after crashing his car in Kent County early Monday morning and other drivers continue to become stranded on roads throughout Delaware as snow pummels the region.

Delaware State Police said the single-car fatality occurred just after 6:45 a.m. on Firetower Road near Felton.

An overhead DelDOT traffic camera shows vehicles on Del. 1 approaching the main toll plaza in Dover.
An overhead DelDOT traffic camera shows vehicles on Del. 1 approaching the main toll plaza in Dover.

The 55-year-old man, who will be identified once next-of-kin is notified, was driving a Jeep Cherokee east when he left the north edge of the road and went into a ditch. The Jeep then traveled "a short distance" before it hit a large tree, police said.

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Police said the man was not wearing a seatbelt and died at the scene. At the time, the roads were damp and there was limited visibility due to dark skies and freezing rain.

As the storm has progressed, the roads have only continued to deteriorate, said Delaware Department of Transportation spokesman C.R. McLeod.

While transportation crews have been working since 3:30 a.m., McLeod said DelDOT is "battling Mother Nature," especially in Kent and Sussex counties. That's where the majority of Delaware's snow continues to fall.

"We continue to plow and treat the roads, and we're going to be out working into the night," McLeod said. "We're working hard, but we likely won't see significant road improvement until the storm moves out."

McLeod said residents should try to stay home as much as they can Monday afternoon and into the evening hours. Even once the snow stops, he said, dropping temperatures will make the roads icy.

"We understand that some people do have to head out, so please clean off your car, for your safety and other motorists'," McLeod said. "Really slow down, too – we recommend going half the speed limit and leaving plenty of room between you and other cars."

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He added that "no matter what kind of car you have" – all-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive – "you're going to slide no matter what."

"Pack your patience, the roads are awful," McLeod said. "Who wants to start their year off with a crash? Nobody needs that."

Got a story tip or idea? Send to Isabel Hughes at ihughes@delawareonline.com. For all things breaking news, follow her on Twitter at @izzihughes_

This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: Officials urge caution on Delaware's snowy roads after fatal crash