PORT ANGELES — North Olympic Peninsula residents were treated to a white Christmas, but the snowfall had its downside as it caused a bevy of wrecks, two with injuries.
Port Angeles had 5 inches of the white stuff and Port Townsend 3 inches by the time the snow ended early Monday morning, according to the National Weather Service.
Snow that fell Christmas Eve and Christmas morning was expected to partially melt Monday, then freeze Monday night, creating hazardous driving conditions this morning,
There is a chance of light snow and rain today in Clallam and Jefferson counties, with highs around 40 degrees, National Weather Service Meteorologist Johnny Burg said Monday.
Christmas Day was quieter than Christmas Eve for law enforcement and emergency personnel who handled more than 60 snow-related vehicle wrecks in Clallam and Jefferson counties by the time the holiday’s gray dawn arrived.
The mishaps Sunday night and early Monday morning included two collisions with injuries while snow piled up on the North Olympic Peninsula.
The vehicle mishaps began around 3:30 p.m. Sunday as snow began to fall, according to law enforcement officials, with the first serious-injury collision occurring later Sunday evening.
A 75-year-old Puyallup woman was a passenger in a vehicle involved in an 8 p.m. Sunday collision 17 miles southwest of Port Townsend near Center Road, the State patrol said.
Ila M. Zbaraschuk was in a 2011 Chevy Aveo being driven eastbound on state Highway 104 just west of Center Road by Reuben I. Zbaraschuk, 75, of Puyallup when he attempted to slow the vehicle due to weather, according to a State Patrol report.
She was transported to Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton, where a hospital media-hotline contact person said he was unable to provide her condition late Monday afternoon.
A 75-year-old woman who was in a collision in the same area of Highway 104 at the same time but whose name was not available from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office had head lacerations, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Sgt. Mark Apeland said.
She was transported by ambulance to Harrison.
Zbaraschuk crossed the westbound lane, went into the westbound ditch and struck a tree, the State Patrol said.
The Chevy was towed from the accident site.
A second injury wreck occurred south of Sequim at 1 a.m. Monday.
Amy Rodgers, whose age and middle name were unavailable Monday, was involved in the three-vehicle wreck at Palo Alto and Youngquist roads, Clallam County Sheriff’s Deputy Paul Federline said.
Rodgers was temporarily trapped in a vehicle following the collision, which included one vehicle that rolled over.
Federline said she was conscious, breathing and responding normally when she was transferred to Olympic Medical Center.
An OMC spokeswoman said the injured person was transferred from the hospital.
Rodgers’ condition or where she was transferred to was unavailable Monday.
There were 47 “accident-vehicle” reports on the Peninsula Communications call-for-service log.
The log is made available to the public and lists reports on incidents from throughout the county including Port Angeles, Sequim and Forks.
The Christmas Eve mishaps typically involved vehicles following too closely or speeding to fast for conditions and ending up in ditches, Federline and Port Angeles Police Officer Kyle Cooper said.
The Port Angeles Police Department handled 16 collisions from late afternoon Sunday to early Monday morning, Officer Kyle Cooper said.
“I did not see any significant collisions,” Cooper said.
Most people seemed to be in a holiday mood, he said.
“Overwhelmingly, the people involved in the collisions were understanding,” Cooper said.
“They were in pretty good spirits.”
The slickest spots in the Port Angeles area included Mount Pleasant, Mount Angeles and Monroe roads, law enforcement officials said.
There were no mishaps reported in Forks and the rest of the West End, Federline said.
“It seems that most people in the West End, they know how to deal with this,” he said.
“They know when to go out and when not to.”
Apeland said the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department handled 18 snow-related mishaps until 10:09 p.m. Sunday, after which there were no more wrecks reported.
Port Townsend was relatively quiet during the Christmas Eve snowfall, police officer Mark Dumond said Christmas Day after reviewing the incident log.
“People used common sense,” he said.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].