Storm wreaks havoc on city streets
Winter's first snowstorm of the year made life miserable for Chair City motorists.
Capt. Mark Kattner said Thomasville Police Department on Wednesday responded to at least 10 automobile accidents across the city as a result of a massive winter storm that raged across the southeastern United States.
“It was intense,” Kattner said. “Everybody we had working was pretty much tied up in one way or the other. When all the calls started coming in we started running out of units. We had to start stacking calls until units became available.”
One woman suffered a broken leg at the intersection of Arthur Drive and Liberty Drive after being struck by a vehicle sliding in the snow. Kattner said the woman got out of her car to clear off the windshield and was hit by another car that had lost control in treacherous driving conditions.
Wednesday's storm arrived shortly after noon and immediately started making an impact on Thomasville. Kattner said calls started coming in around 2:30 p.m. and were non-stop over the four hours as road conditions rapidly deteriorated.
Major problem areas in the city included Liberty Drive, National Highway and Salem Street. The police department was inundated with calls for assistance, causing long response time for officers who also had to navigate sometimes impassable roads.
“Traffic got stuck on Salem Street Street and National Highway when cars couldn't make it up a hill,” said Kattner. “We had three or four crashes on Liberty Drive and several more down near Highway 29/70. We broke out some old cars with snow tires on them and that really reduces our response time. I don't know why people want to get out there when it's like that.”
Extra officers were called in to work Thurday morning, but Kattner said everything was pretty calm. Many businesses didn't open and Kattner said that helped a lot as fewer vehicles were on the road.
“We didn't have problems whatsoever,” Kattner said of Thursday morning.
City Manager Kelly Craver said he decided to close City Hall early so staff had time to get home before road conditions became dangerous. City Hall did not open on Thursday.
“What goes into that decision is the safety of your employees,” Craver said. “It's just a matter of making sure the employees can get home so they can get back to work. We were getting them primed up around 1 p.m. and letting them know they needed to ready to leave. I told them I was locking the doors.”
Ctiy crews worked overnight, Craver said, clearing all the primary roads through town. By the end of the day Thursday, Craver said crews began to focus efforts on secondary roads.
“They've made great progress,” said Craver.
Davidson County received between 6-12 inches of snow from a storm that still was dumping precipitation until Thursday afternoon. Bill Stossmeister, assistant shift supervisor at the Davidson County 911 center, said it would take several days to calculate just how many calls came in on Wednesday afternoon.
“I don't know how many we got yet but it was a whole bunch,” Stossmeister said. “We've had a few accidents [Thursday] but now a whole lot. It was everywhere.”
Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or firstname.lastname@example.org.