Ice storm took its toll on local roads

By Karen Zautyk
Observer Correspondent 


By the time you read this, we all may be trapped inside by a blizzard — if the current weather forecasts are correct. But it doesn’t necessarily take heavy snow to create havoc. Sometimes, a coating of ice is sufficient.

Last week began with an ice storm on Sunday. By the end of the day, there were news reports of more than 400 motor vehicle accidents in New Jersey.

That’s frightening enough, but consider this: That tally of 400, law enforcement told us, was likely just the number recorded by the State Police. It would not have taken into account all the accidents reported by the local police departments in all the communities throughout New Jersey.

In Kearny, on Sunday, Jan. 18, there were 48 reported MV accidents between 7:16 a.m. and 5:11 p.m. Repeat: 48. The first was on Fish House Road; the last, on Hackensack Ave. Those were both in South Kearny, but don’t think the residential area of town was spared.

One of the more spectacular crashes occurred on Wilson Ave. shortly before 8 a.m. A Kearny fire engine, en route to a call, hit some ice and slid down the hill for two blocks, hitting nine parked cars before coming to a stop. Luckily, there were no injuries.

In addition, Kearny police dealt with medical calls, including people injured in slip-and-falls on the icy streets and sidewalks, and disabled vehicles.

Between 7 a.m. and midnight, the KPD responded to an extraordinary 100 calls, the bulk of them weather-related. “The volume was unbelievable,” Chief John Dowie said. “It was non-stop.”

Example: 07:16:45, MV accident, Fish House Road; 07:22:03, injured person, Belgrove Drive; 07:25:00, accident, Bergen Ave.; 07:30:00, accident, Johnston Ave.; 07:31:00, accident, Devon St.; 07:35:00, accident, Quincy Ave.; 07:35:00, accident, Garfield Ave.; 07:35:53, accident, Forest St.; 07:37:00, accident, Passaic Ave.; 07:39:39, accident, Hackensack Ave.; 07:43, accident, Bergen Ave.; 07:44:35, accident, Davis Ave.

That covers about a mere half-hour. The list goes on. And on.

And remember, the KPD was also dealing with burglar alarms, disputes, disorderly persons, criminal mischief, suspicious persons, etc.

Dowie said noted that he had to call in three extra officers to handle the volume of calls.

In the chief’s words, on Jan. 18, “the starter pistols went off and it did not stop.” An apt description.

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