CAMPBELL COUNTY (WATE) — Road crews and first responders worked throughout the winter storm on Sunday to make sure people made it home safely.
Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Jacob Wiser went above and beyond. He dug out more than a dozen vehicles by hand along a snowy interstate in Campbell County.
“A call came out saying that there was a lot of vehicles either broke down, crashed or blocking the lane at the 145. So, myself and the other troopers started heading that way and I was the first one to get there. There were vehicles, at this point the snow had covered both lanes of travel about 1-2 inches or so,” Wiser said.
He says he dug out 14 vehicles, two big rigs and 12 cars, using his hands and a shovel he borrowed from a TDOT truck that happened to pass by.
“As more snow falls on top of a warmer asphalt, the first snow that fell is now the bottom layer of that and it starts melting from the asphalt but then the more snow just freezes that on top of it. So, you got a layer of ice underneath about an inch of snow. The biggest way to help was to get up and under there and just break up that ice and allowing people to get traction especially in those front wheel drive vehicles,” said Wiser.
Staying safe is Wiser’s key message to drivers, and it was his main concern on Sunday.
“They were asking me, ‘What do you think we should do? Should we try and head on up?’ And I didn’t know the road situation in Kentucky, but if it’s anything like we had, I advised them ‘if I were you, I’d just get off in Jellico and stay the night there. Whether you park over here or by the gas station or try and get a hotel room. I’d just stay off the road until daylight.’ Everyone was very, very thankful and very, very courteous,” he said.
Trooper Wiser says from what he saw Sunday no one was hurt.
Also as a reminder, if something happens to you on the interstate, you can call *847 to get through to THP dispatch.