CLINTON — Winter weather has arrived in Clinton and those who were stuck in it on Friday got much more than they bargained for.
As the region was slammed with freezing rain overnight Thursday, accumulating about a tenth of an inch of ice according to the National Weather Service, travel on Friday became a hazardous situation that the Clinton Police Department did its best to contain.
By 10 a.m. the police department had already reported dozens of traffic accidents, some more severe than others, and as the day continued the calls just kept coming in.
"It's getting to the point now that the patrols can't keep up. There's just so many calls coming in that we can't keep up," Officer Terry St. Ores said. "Officers were ordered to not investigate them; just hand out state accident reports and move on to the next one, as long as there are no injuries."
According to St. Ores, the city street crews were able to get to the busy Clinton roads to put salt down early, but the problem areas were side streets, residential areas and hills.
Several calls of cars getting stuck on the side of the road or sliding into ditches kept patrols busy and clearing the scene was as difficult as getting to the accident sites.
"We'll get calls for people that are stuck, some on the side of a hill some that in a ditch but the problem is we're not allowing wreckers out on main roads to get them," St. Ores said. "We'll make a determination of where the vehicles are in the ditch, but if people aren't going to see that you have a wrecker the risk is too high."
To maintain some order among the chaos, multiple patrols were dispatched to the same accident site and officers were equipped with appropriate winter gear to keep them safe during a service call.