290 stuck in ditches amid snowy weather


A stranded SUV was left behind on Bethany Road Monday after heavy winter storms swept over DeKalb Sunday night through Monday morning.

By Lark Lewis

Snowy weather led to about 290 reports of cars being stuck in ditches Sunday to Monday, according to the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department.

The reports came in from 4 p.m. Sunday until 12:30 p.m. Monday. Fourteen accidents involved vehicle damage only, but seven involved injuries and one of those seven resulted in a man’s death.

“[Sunday] was one of the worst nights I’ve seen in many years,” said Chief Deputy Gary Dumdie.

Tow companies also felt the pressure of the bad weather.

“Two weeks ago we had over 200 calls in two days, and Sunday and Monday we probably had around 100,” said Marissa McGowen, Tri-State Towing office manager.

Dumdie said speed is by far the most common factor in winter vehicle accidents.

“Drivers really need to slow down,” Dumdie said. “A lot of crashes are chain reactions because cars aren’t able to slow down in time.”

Dumdie said drivers should stay in their cars if they end up in a ditch or are in an accident. Sunday, cars were abandoned on and near roadways by drivers who got into accidents or drove into ditches.

“If you have to leave your car, contact law enforcement with your name, number and a description of your car so we can get a tow to it,” Dumdie said.

If people have to leave their cars they can contact the DeKalb County Sheriff’s office later to find out to where their cars were towed.

People should not drive if they don’t have to, and drivers should keep their cars sheltered during the cold, McGowen said.

“I think people take the weather too lightly,” said Brandie Bockwoldt, freshman biological sciences major.

Cold weather is expected to continue today, with wind chill hitting as low as -37 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

“We’ve all grown up with [the weather] so it seems normal, but it’s still serious,” Bockwoldt said.