Pennsylvania State Police at Belfast reported Tuesday that a flying chunk of ice from a vehicle damaged a tractor-trailer’s windshield on a local highway last week.
In a news release, police said the accident occurred on the morning of Feb. 25 in the area of mile marker 63.0 on I-78 east in Lower Saucon Township, Northampton County.
The flying piece of ice struck the passenger side windshield of a 2005 Peterbilt 379 operated by 42-year-old John H. Still III of Walnutport, cracking it, police said.
There was no information available from police about the vehicle from which the piece of ice became dislodged, and police classified the accident as a hit-and-run in their report.
Still–who police said was not injured in the accident–was also cited for several alleged vehicle code violations, according to the news release and court documents.
Dockets filed in District Court 03-2-04 in Lower Saucon Township show that Still was cited for a violation of the Requirement to Have a Commercial Driver’s License and for Driving While Operating Privilege is Suspended or Revoked.
As of Tuesday, he had not entered a plea in response to the citations, per court records.
Chunks of ice becoming projectiles when they fly off vehicles–and particularly large trucks–has been an issue on Pennsylvania highways for years. On rare occasions, large pieces of ice have seriously injured or killed the occupants of vehicles they have struck.
State Senator Advocates for Prevention of Flying Snow and Ice-Related Accidents
State Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-18), whose district includes Lower Saucon Township, has been an advocate for toughening penalties for drivers who fail to remove snow and ice from their vehicles within 24 hours of a storm. Under current state law, drivers can only be penalized if serious bodily harm results from snow or ice that becomes a projectile.
Boscola’s proposed bill–which is known as “Christine’s Law” in tribute to a woman killed when a flying chunk of ice struck her vehicle–would give police officers the discretion to pull over a vehicle if the buildup of ice or snow on it poses a potential hazard to others.
“The legislation would apply to drivers of all motor vehicles, and it allows law enforcement officers to fine motorists who fail to do so,” Boscola said in a Jan. 12 update.
In the update, she noted that the state Senate unanimously passed Bill 114 in April 2021, and that it was currently awaiting action on the floor of the state House.
“I have been fighting to get this law on the books ever since (Christine Lambert’s) tragic accident over 15 years ago and I am hopeful the full Senate and then the House will act on this legislation so it will be law by this winter,” Boscola said of the “Christine’s Law” bill.
Note: All individuals accused of or charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. This story was compiled using information from the Pennsylvania State Police, Belfast Barracks (Troop M) and Bucks County court records.