Fatal crash in Athens County among numerous wrecks across region

ATHENS, Ohio (WTAP) - UPDATE 01/08/18: 2 P.M.

Courtesy, WOUB-TV

Snowy, icy conditions that are making driving hazardous across the Mid-Ohio Valley are also being blamed for a fatal accident in Athens County.

Wood County Sheriff Steve Stephens says deputies have investigated at least seven accidents today, but only one of them resulted in someone being injured.

Stephens says one driver was taken to the hospital after his car went off the road and struck a rock on Route 14 near the Wood and Wirt county line.

In Washington County, as of 2 p.m., the Ohio State Highway Patrol says troopers had investigated 10 accidents since midnight. The Patrol says there have been no serious injuries.

That wasn't the case in Athens County, where a truck driver died after crashing his rig on Route 33 at Richland Avenue.

Jeffery Byrd, 56, of Twin City, Ga., died in the accident, which happened about 5:05 a.m.

The Athens Post of the Highway Patrol says Byrd lost control of his rig and hit a bridge wall on Route 33. The tanker carrying high-fructose corn syrup went over the wall and landed on Richland Avenue.

Crews from the West Virginia Division of Highways and the Ohio Department of Transportation have been treating and plowing Mid-Ohio Valley overnight and throughout Monday.

No major road closures or other problems have been reported.

Athens and Morgan counties remain under a Level 2 snow emergency, while Washington County is under a Level 1 advisory.

In Marietta, Lancaster Street Hill / State Route 676 has been closed from Fort Harmar Drive to Bartlett Street because of a water main break.

Drivers are asked to use Pearl Street Extension or Slaughterhouse Hill as an alternate route.

UPDATE 01/08/18: 11:30 A.M.

Slick roads are suspected in the crash of a tractor-trailer crash that killed Georgia man early Monday morning in Athens County.

Jeffry Byrd, 56, of Twin City, Ga., died when his tanker truck hauling high-fructose corn syrup struck a bridge wall on Route 33 and went off the overpass onto Richland Avenue.

It happened shortly after 5 a.m. as the truck was headed west on Route 33, according to the Athens post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Richland Avenue was closed while emergency crews cleaned up the accident scene, but the road is back open.

Athens County has been under a Level 2 snow emergency throughout Monday morning, while Washington and Morgan counties remain under a Level 1 advisory.

Ashley Rittenhouse, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Transportation District 10 office in Marietta, says crews have been out treating roads since about 2 a.m.

ODOT currently has 21 snowplows on the roads, and Rittenhouse reminds motorists who encounter one of them give them plenty of room to do to their work.

In Wood County, a 911 dispatch supervisor says were two accidents on Route 14 Monday morning: one near the Wood and Wirt county line and another at Awesome Valley Drive. Authorities haven't released details of either crash.


Authorities in Athens County have issued a Level 2 snow emergency.

According to the Athens County Emergency Management Agency, this means roads are hazardous and icy with blowing and drifting snow and that drivers should use extreme caution.

Only those who feel it is necessary to drive should be out on the roads.

Contact your employer to see if you should report to work.

Washington and Morgan counties are under a Level 1 snow emergency, which means roadways are hazardous and may be icy. Motorists are urged to drive very cautiously.