Freezing rain iced Wilson County roadways over the weekend making motor passage extremely hazardous. The conditions responsible showed no signs of easing up as winter storm warnings continued into Tuesday.
Captain Tyler Chandler with the Mt. Juliet Police Department hosted a live update forum online for Wilson County residents to track the worsening conditions. During the broadcast, MJPD Records Supervisor Rich Frankich provided a first hand look at the dangerous roadways from a dashboard camera.
Chandler warned about the likelihood temperatures reach into the low teens Monday night, and to be mindful that low temperatures inhibit the salt on the roads from melting the ice. He said, “Public works crews have been working since Sunday morning to get these roads clear, but it’s still best to stay home unless there is an emergency.
“If you have to drive, remember don’t crowd the plow. If something immobilizes the plow it sets back the entire emergency response effort.”
During Sunday morning's onset of dangerous conditions, MJPD responded to “15 crashes in a two-hour window,” Chandler said. Since that time, calls for service have been lower than the captain expected with no major injuries reported on the roads, something he attributes to residents doing their part and staying home.
However, a secondary threat has reared its head. Slippery conditions caused multiple falls and a few broken bones around the area. Chandler said everyone needs to be cautious of ice on steps and porches.
As of Monday, there had not been any power outages in Mt. Juliet. Chandler said that with freezing rain there is always a threat to utility lines from above and below. A car skidding into and downing a utility pole can knock out power just the same ice accumulation on the lines.
Asked if this was a typical winter event, Chandler said it wasn’t. “It’s been a few years since something this impactful happened.”
Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto said the same thing. “It’s rare that we have had large winter storms in the past couple years. When you have an event like we’re having now, people aren’t used to it.
“We do have Wilson County Emergency Management Agency out salting and clearing roads but the best thing people can do is stay home until it’s safe.”