“We had countless wrecks in the city,” Police Chief Greg Turley said. “Fortunately, we had no serious accidents.”
He said all the snow surprised everyone.
“We were preparing for a light dusting,” Turley said.
Instead, the Pell City area received 1-3 inches of snow, wreaking havoc for emergency workers, including police.
Turley said roads began to get congested after it was announced that school buses could not get on the roads and students were to shelter in place at schools.
“People were trying to get home, get their kids,” Turley said. “It caused a complete shutdown.”
Traffic became congested as snow began to accumulate on roadways. That’s when wrecks began to happen all across the city.
“The Street Department couldn’t get out to sand roads because cars were stuck on the roads,” Turley said.
He said when the storm hit, there were 12 officers on duty.
Emergency calls began to flood central dispatch and filter out to local lawmen.
“It got overwhelming,” Turley said. “It got to the point where we could only answer emergency calls.”
He said the Police Department is still filling out incident/accident reports from all the accidents that occurred because of Tuesday’s midday snow storm.
Turley said an ambulance struggled through the snow and ice to reach a man on Mays Bend Drive, who apparently had a heart attack. Another ambulance was involved in an accident because of the ice and snow.
He said police worked around the clock assisting people who became stranded.
Turley said other officers attempted to get in, despite road conditions.
“That’s a tremendous testament to the officers we have here,” Turley said.
He said police helped gather and deliver supplies to area shelters, where commuters were forced to stay overnight.
Turley said at one point there were 174 stranded people at shelters in Pell City.
He said there were citizens who also called to offer assistance with their four-wheel drive vehicles.
Turley said the Police Department has four-wheel type vehicles, but “we could have used more.”
“We had a lot of mothers with children who got stranded,” he said.
He said road conditions have improved greatly, but people need to remain cautious while driving.
“Today is our thaw-out day,” Turley said Thursday. “Roads in some of the shady areas still have ice on them.”
Contact David Atchison at firstname.lastname@example.org