Post & Mail photos/Nicole Ott
A car makes its way down 50 W, near 600 N through a drift pushed back from the roadway by county highway crews.
COLUMBIA CITY â€” The snow storm this week put everyone in Whitley County and across much of the country on high-alert.
There were some who couldnâ€™t take shelter at home and wait out the blizzard in pajamas with a cup of hot cocoa.
â€śThere were so many stranded motorists,â€ť said Cathy Broxon-Ball of the Whitley County Emergency Management/Department of Homeland Security.
â€śI guess everybody figures that police and emergency vehicles can just get to them in a matter of minutes, but we had so many responders that were getting stuck that, well, thatâ€™s why we have these levels.â€ť
The agency worked with the Whitley County Board of Commissioners in issuing snow emergencies this week as the area prepared for this winterâ€™s biggest snow storm.
The Level 1 emergency was upgraded to a Level 2 this morning.
Broxon-Ball has been at work since 7 a.m. Monday.
â€śItâ€™s not just me here,â€ť she said. â€śMy deputy has been in and out and weâ€™ve had volunteer radio people here and most have spent the night.â€ť
At the Whitley County Sheriffâ€™s office, Sheriff Mark Hodges spent the night at his office Tuesday, finally making it home by Wednesday evening.
â€śEverything last night remained pretty calm,â€ť he said, â€śbut Tuesday night was pretty hectic with two of our officers getting stuck.â€ť
Hodges said one was stuck in a snowdrift on his way to rescue three people stranded in a car in the south part of the county.
â€śThe other got stuck trying to take an employee home who had crashed with their sugar levels,â€ť he said.
Hodges said the effects of the storm could have been worse and touted the efforts of county agencies for getting the word out before the first snowflake fell.
â€śI would have to hope that all the emergency agencies being ready for it and the commissioners issuing the snow emergency levels, that all in all, it wasnâ€™t too bad,â€ť he said.
Broxon-Ball said this morning there were some who could have made the situation easier by abiding by the snow emergency declarations
â€śWe donâ€™t just do it because,â€ť she said.
And some motorists, Broxon-Ball said, were flirting with disaster in the winter weather and when things went bad, resorted to dishonesty in order to secure a rescue.
â€śWe got a call that a couple of girls were stranded in their car with a baby and their gas was running low,â€ť she said.
â€śWhen we got there, it was just a couple of teenagers. I guess they figured if they said there was a baby, weâ€™d hurry up and get there.â€ť
Broxon-Ball said her office expects the Level 2 to remain for the rest of Thursday.
â€śWeâ€™re going to keep this at Level Two throughout today,â€ť she said. â€śWe always evaluate between 5 and 7 a.m. and between noon and 4 p.m. Today we changed the level at 8 a.m. because we wanted to make sure people had to light to see where they were driving.â€ť