This week’s inclement, icy weather has kept law enforcement, including the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office, busy.
From about 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, deputies responded to dozens of weather-related calls, primarily motorists sliding off of the ice-slickened roadways.
To answer the calls, the deputies rounded up every four-wheel vehicle at the sheriff’s office’s disposal.
“We answered a lot of calls,” sheriff’s Lt. James Saulter said. “Excursions, Explorers, the old license and weight trucks, all of our four-wheel drive vehicles, you name it, we had it out there. We parked the new (patrol) cars and got in the old ones. That way, if there was an accident, it was in something we were already going to take to auction.”
With magnetic sheriff’s office decals on the vehicles’ sides and temporary red-and-blue lights on the sun visors, the makeshift, ice-worthy fleet rolled to the rescue.
“We were making do with what we had, but, with what we had, we were able to get around,” Saulter said. “Our deputies in the four-wheel drive vehicles were able to help people save money because they didn’t have to call wreckers. We were pulling folks out to keep things flowing (on the roads). If somebody called that they were stranded, we tried to pull them out.
“The four-wheel drives were a lifesaver,” he said. “We were able to help numerous citizens and save them wrecker fees.”
Saulter estimated deputies pulled about 50 vehicles, whether it was back onto the roadway or to where motorists could get enough traction to get going again during the aforementioned 14-hour peak period of activity before the roads cleared somewhat.
As the night progressed, however, the ice that had melted under the day’s traffic refroze into patches of black ice.
“Black ice is going to be a big thing (until temperatures get above freezing),” Saulter said. “The problem we’re hearing right now is that it’s not going to get above 20-25 degrees Thursday and then we could have from 1-2 inches of snow Friday morning. That’s what the news is reporting.
“As it goes, right now, the main thing is to be looking for black ice out there. There are a lot of open spots; there’s also lots of black ice everywhere.”
With the weather conditions as they are, the sheriff’s office is urging motorists to exercise caution.
“If you don’t have to drive, don’t drive,” Saulter said. “If you have to, take the time, leave plenty early and watch out for the black ice, because it’s out there.”
If wondering about a roadway’s condition, feel free to contact local law enforcement to ascertain its condition, he said.
Contact JoAnn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 469-517-1452.