Public safety workers see light at end of tunnel

By Pete Scott


A tractor-trailer truck jackknifed on Lacey Avenue near Joy Lake Road in Lake City, Wednesday.

Not far away, off Slate Road, a car crashed into a fence at Fort Gillem. And, one driver suffered minor injuries at Lake Jodeco Road, and Camp Road. His car flipped over, after hitting a patch of ice. The driver was treated at Southern Regional Health System, and released.

The three incidents were among the more than 15,000 calls made to the Clayton County Police Department since the ice storm hit last Sunday around 8 p.m., according to Capt. Tina Daniel, spokesperson and public information officer for the Clayton County Police Department.

Public safety officers, and first responders in Clayton found themselves taxed to the maximum over the past week, in the wake of the storm that dumped snow, freezing rain and/or sleet on much of the state, making hundreds of roads impassable, and shutting down schools, businesses and local governments.

During a 24-hour period Wednesday, "We were not responding to calls, because there were so many," said Daniel. "The problem was, once a road melted, it would refreeze," she explained.

"We're starting to see the end of the rainbow, and light at the end of the tunnel," she said Thursday, as sunshine produced some thawing.

"A lot of the streets have dried out, and we won't have near as much freezing, and the number of calls have gone down," she added.

Police officers have been working extended 10-and 12-hour shifts, Daniel said. Some, she added, have spent the night in fire stations.

Despite the thawing out process already underway, Daniel was quick to caution motorists to "continue to exercise extreme caution, drive below the speed limit, because a lot melted snow is going to turn into ice, and there could be problems in shaded areas, at turn lanes and bridges."

Two Clayton Roads remain closed, she said: Rock Hill, from Highway 85, to Flat Shoals Road, as well as Inman Road, near Woolsey Road.

While ice mishaps lead the list of calls answered by police, Daniel said public safety officers and first responders were also answering calls to help residents get medicines, and medical treatment, and help others get them to their homes.