By Erika Platt-Handru
PHOTO BY JILL GOSCHE
A rescue crew, which includes Scotty Whitt, an employee of John’s Welding and Towing (second from right), works at the scene of an accident at SR 53 and Tyber Road Tuesday afternoon. A car driven by Saul Nevarez Jr. of Fremont was unable to stop on ice and slid into the back of a semi driven by Lennell Wilson of Michigan. A passenger in the car was taken by Tiffin EMS to Mercy Tiffin Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
While many Seneca County residents avoided the outdoors Monday and most of Tuesday as temperatures were sub-zero, tow truck drivers fought the cold to help stranded motorists.
"We've been extremely busy," said Jim Keller, co-owner of John's Welding & Towing.
Keller said five drivers work during day-time hours, and calls have been nearly constant the last two days.
"We run so many they just begin to back up," he said.
Keller, who also serves as a tow truck driver, said many of the calls have been vehicles that wouldn't start, vehicles that went into ditches or vehicles that were stuck in snow.
"It's been just a little bit of everything," Keller said. "When it gets like this, it gets crazy. In a couple of days from now, it'll all be back to normal."
He said a factor that sends most drivers into a ditch and stranded is speed. Keller said in winter conditions, drivers should slow down and move over for tow truck drivers and other rescue personnel.
"Respect the people that's out there trying to help you," he said.
Keller said his tow truck drivers have been keeping warm at their calls by dressing in a lot of layers.
"You just have to dress for it," he said.
Weather-related accidents were reported Tuesday in Tiffin and in the county, but none was major, according to police reports.
Tiffin Police Chief Fred Stevens said the few accidents that were reported occurred after the Level 3 Emergency was downgraded to a Level 2 Emergency Tuesday afternoon.
He said the city of Tiffin must follow the snow emergencies that Seneca County Sheriff Bill Eckelberry declares. Under a Level 2 Emergency, only those who feel it is necessary to drive should be out on the roads. Motorists also should use extreme caution.