Winter emergency response

Local News

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — It was another weekend of snow and ice blanketing the roads and interstate, making for a dangerous situation for first responders.

They’ve helped dozens of drivers across Central Illinois. On Saturday, state police had to shut down lanes on two interstates because of semis that jackknifed.

It creates a whole new problem for those trying to make people safe.

“It’s frustrating, and it’s scary.”

Joshua Jessup is a firefighter with the Champaign Fire Department, he says for many of them, the last place they would ever want to be is on the interstate in the snow and ice.

“We have to be exra cautious when were on the interstates for accident scenes and things like that, there are just so many variables that are outside of our control.”

Just last weekend, a state trooper was hit and killed as he was helping a driver.

Jessup says it’s a reminder to how wrong things can go.

“It’s difficult, we’re a big family as first responders, and anytime something like happens in the first responder family it really has an impact. We’ve been talking the last week how we can protect each other and ourselves on the roadway.”

They want to stay safe when they respond to scenes like the ones Kim Eveland saw firsthand driving back from Indianapolis.

“There was at least three semi’s that were dumped over, it was pretty dangerous, and then on the way back right when we got into Illinois we saw a trailer and a truck that were going too quickly and went into the median.”

Jessup says when that happens, drivers can help first responders a lot by just being courteous.

“Everything just takes more time. They can slow down, they can move over, they can slow down when they see those accident scenes and really just take their time.”

He says in the past week the fire department has had to respond to several accidents on the interstate. That’s in back-to-back snowy weekends.
 

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