Medics, police getting stuck in snow and ice as winter storm wanes

Henrico police officers work to get a patrol car out of a snowdrift on E Williamsburg Road.

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The 36-hour winter storm finally began to let up in Central Virginia late in the evening on Saturday, January 23, but the worst may be yet to come on the roads as sub-freezing temperatures turn the snow to ice.

Officers, medics and firefighters are all dealing with the same road conditions as other drivers, only they have to get out in it to do their jobs, creating problems for first responders across the region in the aftermath of the winter storm.

“I haven’t seen snow like this since I was a little girl,” said Richmond resident Ashley Davis, who was walking from her house to a nearby Kroger for eggs.

“We never see stuff like this,” said Justin Smiley, who also lives in Richmond. “Normally, it’s four, five, six inches.”

Many drivers are staying off the road at all costs, but first responders across the region are forced to brave the elements in emergencies. An 8News crew watched as a ‘good Samaritan’ towed a Henrico police car that became stuck in the snow on East Williamsburg Road.

Earlier in Richmond, an ambulance was held up in the Fan District at Floyd and Mulberry Streets as the pickup truck in front of it became stuck in the snow. It took more than 20 minutes for the ambulance driver to get on their way.

“I mean it’s frightening to think about. We’re in an emergency situation and it’s scary to think the roads aren’t clear enough for anyone to drive and people are stuck,” said Davis. “We just hope that these vehicles can get the help they need to get to us.”

8News also caught video of a snow plow that became stuck in a snowdrift on Interstate 64. Sources say even wreckers are getting stuck on the roadways as they tow disabled cars. Police say they’re able to respond to calls but working on a priority basis, saving resources for life-threating emergencies.

As a bottom line, police are sending out a strong warning that even though the snow has stopped, the roads are dangerous. Governor Terry McAuliffe urged drivers to avoid the roads into Sunday and Monday if possible.

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