By Mary Wade Burnside
Times West Virginian
Traffic backed up on Interstate 79 southbound late Sunday afternoon after the glare of the sun prompted several drivers to slow down, causing three accidents, including two chain-reaction rear-end collisions and one rollover in which no one was injured.
The first accident was toned by Marion County Central Communications at 4:48 p.m. and was covered by the Marion County Sheriff’s Department. The second set of accidents was toned at 5:01 p.m. and was handled by the West Virginia State Police with the assistance of the sheriff’s department.
All accidents took place between mile markers 137 and 136 before the exit to the Gateway Connector in Fairmont.
“We got several witness statements that were not involved in the collision who saw what happened,” said Trooper L.L. Rohrbaugh of the West Virginia State Police. “All witnesses and drivers said the glare from the sun caused motorists to slow down suddenly. Drivers couldn’t see that people were braking in front of them, which is what caused the rear-end collisions. So the glare from the sun is a contributing factor.”
Two cars were involved in the first accident, said Deputy B. Hawkins of the Marion County Sheriff’s Department.
“It was a slight sideswipe,” he said. “Both of those vehicles left the scene without having to be towed. They were able to be driven away.”