Accidents occupy police, fire

Published 10:03 pm Thursday, September 30, 2010

Suffolk’s police and fire departments were kept busy responding to numerous traffic accidents while the rain poured on Wednesday and Thursday.

City spokeswoman Debbie George said emergency services providers responded to 35 accidents between noon Wednesday and 5 p.m. Thursday. They also responded to several trees and power lines down in the roadway, George said.

Fifteen of the wrecks caused injuries that varied from mild to mortal. Twenty accidents resulted only in damage to vehicles.

In addition, high water threatened several roadways and disabled the vehicles of drivers who attempted to pass through it. Little Fork Road at the state line was the only road closed, George said. Areas that normally flood, like the Kimberly area on North Main Street and low-lying areas of Constance Road, did not seem to present a problem this time, but many rural areas experienced rising water associated with blocked ditches and drains.

Police still were investigating the fatal accident that occurred on Whaleyville Boulevard Wednesday afternoon but had not yet determined if it was a result of the poor weather.

The accident occurred when James Bodie Jernigan, of the 3400 block of Manning Road, was traveling northbound on Whaleyville Boulevard just after 5 p.m. Near the intersection with Liberty Springs Road, Jernigan allegedly drifted into the other lane and struck the left side of a 2006 Nissan Maxima, George said. Both vehicles came to rest in the ditch on the west side of the highway.

The driver of the Maxima, a 35-year-old North Carolina woman, died. Two children and Jernigan also were injured in the accident.

It was raining at the time of the accident, but police do not yet know if the weather played a role.

The accident still is under investigation, George added. Investigation results of all fatal accidents are reviewed by the Commonwealth’s Attorney to determine what charges, if any, will be filed.

Another serious accident involved a Suffolk News-Herald paper carrier. On Thursday at about 6:12 a.m., Jacquelyn Young was turning left out of the McDonald’s on Holland Road as she delivered her route. She was hit by John Graden Britt III, of Franklin. Young suffered serious injuries and was transported to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. Police charged her with failure to yield the right of way.