Tow trucks, law enforcement officers and rescue personnel were kept busy Wednesday as snow-covered streets and roads caused a constant stream of accidents throughout Bulloch County.
The expectation that road conditions would turn icy overnight resulted in Bulloch County Schools Superintendent Charles Wilson making the decision to close schools Thursday, schools spokesperson Hayley Greene said.
Bulloch Academy and schools in Evans County also announced they would be closed Thursday.
For a period of time Wednesday, snow fell in flurries, with county residents flooding social media with photos and videos of snowball fights, miniature snowmen and the air thick with fat flakes. However, by mid-afternoon, the sun was out from the clouds, blue skies returned and the snow began to melt.
Throughout the day, especially during late morning and early afternoon, Statesboro police, Bulloch County sheriff’s deputies and Georgia State Patrol Post 45 troopers constantly responded to traffic accidents, many of which were due to vehicles sliding on slick inclines, according to scanner traffic heard on police radio.
One man skidded into a creek on Mud Road between McKelveen Road and Highway 80 East, calling 911 as he stood on top of his silver Mustang while it sank, one Bulloch County 911 radio operator said. Rescue crews responded and the man, who relayed information that he could not swim, was saved.
Bulloch County Sheriff Noel Brown responded early Wednesday afternoon to a scramble of several stranded cars on Highway 67 at the intersection with Burkhalter Road, known as “Joe Hodges Hill.” Several vehicles lost traction and slid off the roadway, and several roads were temporarily closed in order to clear the obstructing cars, Brown stated over the radio.
Bulloch saw more snowfall on the southern end than the northern part of the county, and there was anywhere between 1 to 3 inches of accumulation, said Bulloch County Public Safety Director Ted Wynn.
“In some areas there were reports of 4 inches, but I don’t know whether that is a scientific measurement,” he said.
More than 25 crashes were reported to Bulloch County 911, but “fortunately there were no fatalities” and no reported serious injuries, he said.
Due to icy conditions and several accidents, roads were closed on the south side of Statesboro including portions of Lanier Drive, Veteran’s Memorial Parkway, Langston Chapel Road (the roundabout at On the Pond subdivision) and Burkhalter (roundabouts near Pretoria Rushing Road and near Harville Road and Langston Chapel Road), he said.
Although the snow melted quickly, Wynn warned of the danger that could come later Wednesday night and Thursday morning when the melted snow would freeze as temperatures dipped again, creating patches of “black ice,” spots on roadways where invisible ice cover could cause wrecks.
The concern about the possibility of ice remaining on roadways early Thursday was a major reason for Wilson’s decision, Greene said.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.