By Melissa Klaric
Herald Staff Writer
WEST MIDDLESEX —
The first snow of the season was the culprit of an early-morning accident Thursday that left one woman dead and another in the hospital, police said.
Mairi C. Smith, 38, of Stoneboro, was pronounced dead at the scene at 6:55 a.m. by Mercer County Coroner J. Bradley McGonigle III.
Police said that Wendy Weiser, 54, of West Middlesex, was taken by ambulance to a local hospital with chest and leg injuries.
In what police described as a “freak accident,” Smith was headed west on Main Street in West Middlesex at 5:42 a.m. When she reached the viaduct, the small pickup she was driving started spinning on the slippery pavement, crossing the center line into the opposing lane of traffic.
Weiser was in the eastbound lane of Route 318 in a PT Cruiser and was unable to stop when the two cars collided about midway on the viaduct in West Middlesex, police said.
Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Chief Riley Smoot said big snowflakes were falling during their investigation at the scene.
“Weather played a big factor in the accident,” Smoot said.
McGonigle said Smith was ejected from the pickup onto the roadway. He ruled her death accidental caused by head trauma.
Emergency responders were seen searching underneath the viaduct on the east bank of the Shenango River Lake, but police determined no person or vehicles went over the viaduct.
Both women were apparently on their way to work, and neither alcohol nor drugs were believed to play a part in the accident, Smoot said.
West Middlesex volunteer firefighters and McGonigle Ambulance personnel assisted police.