CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Heartland News got a first hand look Sunday, Feb 14 at what Cape Girardeau police officers deal with during winter weather.
We rode around with Cape Girardeau Police Officer Amanda Rhodes as she drove around on the streets, responding to the various calls.
"Usually we're going accident to accident to accident," Rhodes said. "We've been really fortunate today."
Overall, Rhodes said people have seemed to heed the warning to stay off the roads whenever possible. But there has been a handful of accident reports officers have already responded today.
During our drive in the city, we were waved down by a driver saying a stoplight not working properly.
"The lights up there at right by Burritoville, weren't cycling any where was six of us in line," another driver told Rhodes.
Rhodes responded to that stoplight to make sure everything was working properly.
What other officers respond to is welfare checks on elderly and even homeless people. They respond to many requests and incidents related to the cold or winter weather conditions.
This of course includes wrecks, as well.
"Another issue that we run into in this kind of weather is anyone who maybe having issues with not being able to heat their house," Officer Rhodes said. "Then we have an increase to related fires with that."
While driving on Highway 74 in Cape Girardeau, Rhodes was alerted to an accident on I-55.
"I-55 and William, one lane blocked," dispatch said over the radio.
We arrived shortly after, and Rhodes was first on the scene. A man had slid on the roadway and crashed into a guardrail.
He was okay, but one lane was blocked for a short time.
The driver, Jerrod Davis, then walked to the police cruiser and entered the back seat. He said he was traveling about 50 mph and lost control.
"Why is this happening? Especially since I'm like right before my exit at work," Davis said. "But I'm glad I didn't hit anybody. Nobody hit me so it's all good."
Davis's vehicle was then towed away and Rhodes gave him a ride to work. Unfortunately for Davis, he may face a citation of going too fast during weather conditions. Davis said he was uninjured and is thankful it wasn't worse.
For Rhodes, it was just another call to take care of, helping to avoid a potential risk to others on the roadway.
But as the snow and ice on the roads start to clear away, more people will be out driving, which can be a hazard in itself.
"A lot of people think the streets are cleared off and there maybe some ice that's not easily visible," Rhodes said. "So they'll take that as a means to travel faster. So we do see a lot of accidents, even once they're cleared off."
As it becomes dark tonight and with temperatures still below freezing, black ice is a major concern, and drivers need to pay attention if they must be on the roads.
"It'll refreeze more than likely tonight and become a whole different type of traffic hazard," Rhodes said. "Right now we have some snow mixed with ice. Tonight we'll be looking more at icy conditions."