Treacherous conditions wreak havoc on roads

February 12, 2019 06:09 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) -- Emergency responders urged drivers to stay off the roads if they didn't have to drive or to exercise extreme caution if they had to, as a morning snowfall turned into freezing rain and ice throughout Tuesday.

"I felt scared. I thought… I actually thought 'this is it!'" exclaimed Joe Defina of Henrietta whose car careened of I-390 in Avon and ended up mangled against a wire highway fence. "I was actually going pretty slow. Tried to get over and, next thing I know sssssssliding, sliding." 

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State troopers said Defina's misadventure was common as "dozens" of vehicles ran off state highways, mostly interstates.

"The slush will grab them so fast, before they realize what's happening and just pull them off the road," declared Livingston County Deputy John Morgan.  

The Livingston County Sheriff's Office issued a travel advisory Tuesday morning which will remain in effect until 10 p.m. Tuesday. 

The surge in accidents meant a cautious high-speed scramble for area tow truck crews.

"Today started with a rollover first thing in the morning," announced John Holley, tow truck operator with M&R automotive in Geneseo. "Usually it's just havoc every time we get a snowstorm up here. Usually, we wake up at six. Sometimes we go all night long up here on 390."

Morgan professed frustration over the surge in accidents.

"People forget in a hurry how to drive in this type of weather," he exclaimed. "When we have the nicer weather, they can cruise the roads, speed limit and everything else, and then all of a sudden you get this type of weather. You have to slow down."

As he waited for a tow truck, DeFina counted his blessings.

DeFina added, "Could've been far worse. I know people who've died…It's just a car. It's just a car. It's replaceable."

He also noted that his Subaru had 4-wheel drive and tires in good condition.

"It's the reaction time with your car," warned Morgan. "It doesn't matter if it's 2-wheel drive, 4-wheel drive, there are still only four wheels to stop it."


Charles Molineaux

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