Winter weather impacts travel in North Clark County


Drivers throughout North Clark County braved winter weather conditions this week as multiple car accidents forced emergency services to spread thin across the county. 

By 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 22, emergency crews responded to at least seven car accidents in North Clark County. The number of accidents climbed throughout the day.

With the necessity of traffic control at the scenes of the accidents and other weather-related events, deputies from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office were unable to respond to numerous calls in Clark County via live dispatch provided by CRESA on the Pulsepoint App.

In a social media post on Feb. 22, Clark County Fire District 10 stated crews observed several downed trees and cars stuck due to the winter weather conditions. Officials from the fire district advised people to avoid driving if possible and urged those needing to drive to do so carefully. 

“To see and be seen by others is paramount,” AAA Washington stated in an article on safe winter weather driving habits. “Clear all snow and ice from windows, mirrors, lights, hood, roof and trunk.”

Snow and ice can fall from a vehicle creating more hazards for other drivers. During snowy conditions, AAA stated drivers should increase their following distance by an extra 10 seconds. On four-lane roads, it is crucial to stay in the lane that is the most clear, stated AAA. The organization said changing lanes can be a hazard since people can lose control of their vehicle as they travel through snow built up between the lanes.  

“In adverse weather, sudden braking often leads to skids. Steering around an obstacle is preferred to braking at speeds over 25 mph because less distance is required to steer around an object than braking to a stop,” AAA stated. 

While skidding in winter conditions can cause a driver to panic, AAA noted the person must maintain focus at the wheel.  

To avoid sliding in winter weather conditions, AAA Washington advises drivers to look and steer in the direction they want their vehicle to travel. They also encourage drivers to avoid slamming on the brakes, which could cause the vehicle to lose control. When the front or rear wheels stop skidding, people can then regain their traction.

“But most of all, if you’re uncomfortable driving in snowy or icy conditions, avoid doing so,” AAA Washington stated. 

During adverse weather conditions, sometimes it is not just the road people have to be careful about. On Feb. 22, an upper portion of a large tree broke off and hit a deputy’s vehicle from the Clark County Sheriff's Office as he was driving on Washougal River Road on his way back from training. The deputy had significant injuries, especially to his lower extremities, stated a release from the sheriff’s office. That same day, he was listed in a critical, but stable condition. 

"The portion of the tree that fell was significant in size. It appears to have struck the vehicle where the windshield meets the hood," stated the release. "The vehicle then came to rest just off the roadway against another tree. Several other law enforcement officers were traveling with him when the incident occurred. They were able to quickly provide first aid. A local public works truck was in the area and helped remove the tree which was across the vehicle prior to the arrival of fire and emergency medical personnel.”

Personnel from the Camas-Washougal Fire Department, the Vancouver Fire Department, East County Fire and Rescue, and Skamania Fire used heavy extrication tools to remove the deputy from the patrol vehicle, stated the release. 

As of 4 p.m. on Feb. 22, the deputy was out of surgery and was transported to a hospital in Portland. 

"The Clark County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank all those that responded and helped in any way," stated the release.


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