CLEVELAND - The FOX 8 I TEAM is investigating a question that drivers, police officers, even dispatchers wondered the other night as roads froze and the number of accidents kept rising. Where were the salt trucks?
Along a stretch of West 150th, 14 cars crashed in multiple accidents. Police found the roads so slippery, even walking on them was tricky. And on police radio you could hear the frustration waiting for city salt trucks.
A dispatcher could be heard saying, "They said they only have two crews. They're both on the other side of the earth. They were notified and they will not give an ETA. But they were made aware that this is an emergency."
So the I TEAM went to the head of the city’s Dept. of Public Works. Michael Cox said, "Based on our weather report for Sunday evening, the temperature was only supposed to get down to 34 to 36 degrees.” In other words, the city didn’t expect the weather to turn so cold and nasty even though parts of Northeast Ohio were getting hammered.
Because of those accidents on West 150th, the city salt truck drivers had to be pulled from cleaning up in the muni lot after the Browns game. The city says they got to the scene in 44 minutes. We drove it in 17 minutes. A little more than 11 miles. Why the difference?
Cox said, "They were at muni lot cleaning muni lot after the tailgating, and so, what they had to do was stop that and come over here and get the trucks, and take em out there."
Meantime, what about I-71 and 480? A number of drivers ended up spinning out or crashing in that area. Where were salt trucks for the Ohio Dept of Transportation? ODOT says it had two-dozen crews rolling throughout the area. Spokesperson Amanda McFarland said, "Their routes take them about 30 minutes to complete, so I would say they had been there within the hour before."
So some answers, but with the wintry weather just beginning, no one will be surprised to hear again soon, ‘Where were the road crews?’