State Police: Stay Off the Roads Unless It’s an Emergency

Posted at 5:39 PM, Jan 06, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-06 18:54:16-05

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Mich. —  St. Joseph County issued a snow emergency, effectively closing roads for all non-emergency driving. Michigan State Police say most drivers are listening to the warning and staying home.

Some troopers are calling this the worst snow fall they’ve seen in St. Joseph County.

“Knock on wood, there hasn’t been any accidents or any calls to service for me anyways,” says Trooper John Hofmeister.

If only FOX 17 could have been so lucky: en route to a ride along with Trooper Hofmeister, the slick, icy roads took the best of our brakes. No less than three MDOT crews showed up to pull our Jeep out of an ice pit.

Meanwhile, law enforcement are closely watching the roads. Trooper Hofmeister says he’s not ticketing drivers solely for being out on the roads, but for any aggressive driving given the snowy roads and near white-out conditions.

“We look for aggressive-type driving, traveling too fast for road conditions,” adds Trooper Hofmeister.

The MDOT spokesperson for Southwest Michigan, Nick Schirripa, also says there are about 20 snow plow running 24 hours throughout both St. Joseph and Kalamazoo Counties. That means about 40 men and women driving the trucks, working 12-hour shifts. Schirripa says each driver plows 160 lane miles in a single shift.

“We have great men and women putting their own safety on the line to plow and keep the roads safe for drivers,” says Schirripa.

Hypothermia and frostbite are also real concerns across Southwest Michigan during this snow storm. According to the National Weather Service, in -10 degree weather with winds of 25 to 55 miles per hour, exposed skin will be frostbitten in about 10 minutes. Experts advice to stay indoors.