Thursday’s ice storm sent cars, trucks and people skidding across roads, into ditches — and even up a tree.
One of the tow trucks for Ken’s Auto Rescue Roadside Service needed to pull a Volkswagen Beetle off a tree after it slid near Yoke’s Market in West Richland, said Bill Kromm, business manager at Ken’s Auto Rescue Roadside Service.
To get to it, the tow truck’s driver put chains on the tires so he could get up the hill.
“A lot of people are sliding off of the road,” Kromm said. “I had one lady who started to pull out of her driveway, went a foot and slid 50 feet sideways onto her neighbor’s lawn.”
It was the same from Walla Walla to Prosser, Connell to Umatilla.
Freezing rain coated roads starting shortly after 6 p.m. Thursday and lasted until late morning, according to the National Weather Service.
The rain was expected to taper off by the end of Friday.
Temperatures are expected to increase into the low 40s Saturday before they begin to settle back toward freezing for next week.
The Washington State Patrol received reports of 70 collisions between 5 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. Friday.
Most of those involved vehicles sliding off of the road, and no one was injured, according to the state patrol.
It was the same with municipal agencies.
Pasco police saw 16 collisions. Richland had 27. Franklin County sheriff’s deputies responded to several crashes.
West Richland police said public works crews were able to keep ahead of the icy roads.
Kennewick police said they responded to several crashes.
The Benton County sheriff’s office didn’t respond to requests for comment.
While rain and above-freezing temperatures moved through the area after noon, residential streets and rural roads remained icy.
Franklin County Undersheriff Dan McCary said north Franklin County roads were still bad.
The amount of collisions kept emergency crews and tow trucks busy. Several tow companies, including A-Jacks Towing and Ken’s, reported taking a few hours to reach non-emergency tows.
Just getting to a crash was tricky.
Pasco firefighters responded to a chimney blaze during the storm, and ice on the roof required them to use the ladder to reach the flames.
Franklin County Fire District 3 rolled out auto socks on Station 36’s primary engine. Firefighters said the gray covering fits over the tires easily, district officials said on thier Twitter page.
“Still need to keep speeds down to 25 mph like regular or cable chains, but much quieter and smoother,” officials said.
For some people the ice kept them off the roads.
Suzanne Flake Morris, a Richland resident, shared a picture of the ice covered chain that hangs from their gutter. While normally it carries the rain to the ground, it’s now covered with ice.
Her husband though was clearing Highway 12 for Washington State Department of Transportation.
“He’s now home to get warm and rest in case he is called in tomorrow,” she said.