Emergency Responders Stay Busy on Roads

Published 12/26 2013 08:01PM

Updated 12/26 2013 08:38PM

Thursday morning was a tough start for those working to keep Vermont roads safe. A state trooper rolled his car on the slick surface of I-89 southbound near Williston. The trooper was OK and investigators and witnesses say he was traveling under the speed limit.

State police from the Williston barracks say they responded to 26 incidents Thursday, mostly on that stretch of I-89. While some troopers say the conditions weren't any worse than over last  weekend during the ice storm, they say more traffic on the road made it just as dangerous.

"It appears to be kind of clear but it’s not if you look closer. It’s got this icy film to it," Vermont State Police Trooper Jerry Partin said referencing I-89.

Partin says troopers face the same dangers as any other driver on the road. He remembers an instance several years ago when he responded to a stranded car while weather conditions were similar to

"I got out of my cruiser, the lights were on and my cruiser was hit from the rear end," Partin said

Partin says he had stopped only thirty seconds before it happened. He says was outside of his vehicle at the time and wasn't injured as a result of the crash.

"I was lucky. Sometimes or too many times there are troopers that aren't so lucky."

Thursday afternoon Partin and two other traffic safety officers from the state police Williston barracks were constantly responding to crashed or rolled over cars. While FOX 44 was riding along with Partin, troopers responded to a rolled over car on I-89 in Williston around 1:30 pm. The incident closed one lane of I-89 temporarily while a tow truck flipped the car back on its wheels and pulled it out of the embankment.

Partin says crashes during snowy conditions are almost always caused by speed or people not driving safely for the conditions. He says it's built into state law to drive safe under conditions and that it wouldn't be unusual to ticket a driver who is driving at an unsafe speed during wintry conditions even if they're driving at the posted speed limit.

"Normal speed is 55 MPH or more but the conditions are such maybe 45 MPH is the better speed to go," Partin said.

Police aren't the only ones on scene when something goes wrong on the roads.

"The radio kind of lights up with calls," Richmond Rescue's Joe Gannon says.

Gannon's crew responded to a one car crash early Thursday morning. He says one of the two passengers was transported to the hospital with minor neck injuries. Gannon says his crew is expected to get to a crash fast, even if it's minor.

"Last month we were out the door in 58 seconds on average," Gannon said.

But even with studded tires and a truck built for any weather condition they play it safe.

"Because if we don't get there at all we aren't helping anyone," driver Latimer Hoke said

Trooper Partin says that rules applies to all drivers on the road and any car they might be driving.

"Doesn't matter what type of vehicle you have at some point, there's a point where you're going to fast for the road surface," Partin said.

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