COVINGTON — Local law enforcement officials were out in force Tuesday and into Wednesday working weather-related accidents and helping stranded motorists.
Investigator Michael Camp with the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday morning that the Sheriff’s Office worked 44 wrecks since Tuesday afternoon, most of which were considered weather-related. While that number is higher than normal, only two were considered serious when the vehicles involved overturned. Fortunately, though, no injuries were reported, he said.
The RCSO has responded to more than 100 reports of stranded vehicles since 9 p.m. Tuesday, Camp said Wednesday morning.
Conyers police have been working “steadily” since Tuesday, responding to wrecks and assisting stranded motorists, said Conyers Police Department Officer Kim Lucas.
“We’ve been pulling motorists out of ditches, responding to wrecks and helping where we can,” she said Wednesday.
In Newton County, Sheriff’s Office deputies worked approximately 22 accidents since Tuesday afternoon, according to Newton County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Jeff Alexander.
“That is not really more than normal. We were fortunate in that people did stay home and off the roads,” he said.
As of Wednesday morning, only Butler Bridge Road and parts of Ga. Highway 81 North were closed due to ice.
Capt. Ken Malcom of the Covington Police Department said the CPD worked five accidents on Interstate 20 within the city limits Tuesday night. Overall, though, he said the main roads through Covington are “passable.”
“Highway 278, the main road through town, is passable, but we would urge citizens before they head out to call their destinations to make sure there are open, since many stores and restaurants are closed,” Malcom said. “Keep in mind that while 278 is passable, the parking lots could be covered in a sheet of ice.”
The bottom line: “If you don’t have to travel, stay off the roadways,” he said.
Several roads in Conyers are closed due to icy conditions, including the Parker Road Bridge, Sigman Road from Milstead Avenue to Ga. Highway 138, Rockbridge Road at Sigman Road and Salem Road to the Newton County line.
While first responders have been out in force responding to wrecks and icy conditions, many are also lending a helping hand.
Camp said that RCSO personnel have been helping stranded motorists and transporting health care employees to and from their jobs.
For example, he said, one lieutenant transported a woman who works as a nurse from her home to Rockdale Medical Center so she could get to work.
An RCSO major stopped Wednesday morning and helped people who were stranded on the side of the road and took them to safety.
On Tuesday evening, a deputy transported an employee with Rockdale Health Care to the Newton County line where a Newton County Sheriff’s Office deputy picked her up and took her home.
In its effort to keep patients and medical staff safe and to focus on critical needs, Rockdale Medical Center canceled all elective procedures Wednesday.
“We will be monitoring conditions throughout the day and overnight hours and evaluating which outpatient services will be available on Thursday,” RMC stated in a press release Wednesday.
All inpatient and emergency services remain uninterrupted.
Vanessa Dameron, emergency preparedness coordinator for RMC, said that anyone with a medical emergency is asked to call 911, but for those that must travel to the hospital, “the driveways and parking lots are accessible except for the ramp to the lower parking deck on the Walgreen’s side due to icing concerns.”