Two lose lives in separate accidents

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By Tom Wilmoth

Two area residents lost their lives on Bedford County roads this past week ? one as a result of icy conditions on county roads Friday morning.

Pamela Joyce Miller, 54, of Thaxton, was traveling south on Virginia 691 when she ran off the right side of the roadway and struck a tree, according to Sgt. Bob Carpentieri of the Virginia State Police. The accident occurred at about 9 a.m. and she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Carpentieri said Miller was wearing her seat belt, adding that the single-vehicle accident was weather related.

Light rain early Friday morning left some roads with patches of ice, creating numerous accidents in the area. More than 100 accidents occurred in the area, about half with injuries, throughout the county, according to a report posted on the Bedford Volunteer Fire Department Web site.

Calls began to come in about 6 a.m., including some three at one time. The Bedford VFD responded to a call on Blue Ridge Avenue, finding an SUV wrecked with heavy damage and entrapment. Another unit responded to a three-vehicle accident on Blue Ridge Avenue, with one subject pinned between a vehicle and the guardrail, the report stated.

A separate unit responded to the third call that had been posted.

Bedford firefighters responded to more than 12 accidents during the morning which had been caused by the icy conditions. Other area units were just as busy. Numerous accidents occurred east of Bedford towards Lynchburg along Va. 221 and U.S. 460.

The calls continued to come through most of the morning hours on Friday. Bedford County schools were closed Friday as a result of the conditions.

On Saturday, about 7:11 p.m., a 1989 Ford Ranger truck, driven by Dennis Ray Thomas, 45, of Vinton was eastbound on Va. 24 when it ran off the right side of the road, according to Carpentieri. Thomas overcorrected, crossed the center line, sideswiped another vehicle and than ran off the road and struck a tree.

Thomas was airlifted to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital in Roanoke, where he died a short time later, Carpentieri said. The other car received minor damage and no injuries were reported.

Thomas was wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident.

Carpentieri said the accident remains under investigation.