Police cars, ambulances getting stuck all over Oklahoma City; tow companies busy

Oklahoma City patrol cars and ambulances are getting stuck all over the city, but few wrecks are being reported, police and EMSA officials said.
BY ROBERT MEDLEY and RICHARD MIZE rmedley@opubco.com rmize@opubco.com Modified: February 1, 2011 at 1:54 pm •  Published: February 1, 2011

EMSA had a report of a patient suffering from hypothermia, or cold exposure, but the ambulance was slowed because it got behind other vehicles stuck in the snow, O'Leary said.

So many Oklahoma City police cars have gotten stuck in the snow that the bomb squad truck has been needed to help stranded police officers.

Very few wrecks have been reported to police.

“The main problem is not people out running into each other,” police Master Sgt. Gary Knight said. “The problem is people driving into snowdrifts and getting stuck.”

Tow trucks and the bomb squad truck are freeing the stranded patrol cars. Other officers could not get out of stations in the Will Rogers and Lake Hefner division parking lots.

“Police officers have the same problems as the general public driving. The patrol cars are two-wheel drive,” Knight said.

Firefighters at Oklahoma City Station 30 had to shovel the driveway before fire trucks could go out to help motorists stuck near the station at 4343 W Lake Hefner Drive.

Sheriff's deputies did not go out in as many patrol cars today, said Oklahoma County Sheriff's spokesman Mark Myers. He did not know of any that were stuck.

After the 2009 snowstorm, the sheriff's department planned to mostly cover their patrol areas and respond to calls in four-wheel drive vehicles. All responses today by sheriff's deputies have been in four-wheel drive vehicles.

“Most of the calls we've had are people getting stuck and needing help getting out of a drift,” Myers said. Troopers were needed to respond to wrecks on Interstates 35 and 40, where traffic was shut down during the morning.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers use snow tires on patrol cars, but several still got stuck. A trooper who was stuck in Tulsa was assisted by a civilian who helped pull him out and return to service. Troopers use SUVs and enlist the help of Lake Patrol troopers in SUVs.

“It's all hands on deck,” OHP spokesman Chris West said. “We have to stay out there.”

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