Virginia State Police monitor interstates during major storm

By Laura Geller - bio | email
Posted by Shawn Maclauchlan

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - VDOT was busy all day and night after a major snowstorm, and state troopers had a busy day as well.

They responded to more than 500 calls in the Richmond area - including more than 150 accidents.

Sergeant Chris Clark's eyes were focused on the roads, looking for anyone who needed help. A computer and call center operators organize troopers and send them where they're most needed.

"The dispatchers give it out to us in priority - if it's an injury accident or a serious accident. With lanes blocked, of course we're going to respond to that," said Clark. "If it's just somebody who has run into a ditch, then we will work our way to them."

One car was found exactly that way on I-64 near Nine Mile Road.

"We see this a lot. People just drive too fast for the road conditions. They leave the road and they get stuck in the ditch.

While the interstates are mostly clear, many of the ramps have slick spots. Clark says during a storm, they try to send a couple troopers to each call. Another set of cruiser lights gives drivers more of a head's up about an obstacle to avoid.

With these conditions you also need to be mindful of the state's move-over law. When snow piles on the side of the shoulder, it gives troopers less room to do their work.

During the height of Sunday's storm, thirteen troopers patrolled interstates 95 and 64 in Richmond and Henrico. On an average day, that workload would be handled by just four officers. Minor accidents take personnel away from other responsibilities, so Clark has this advice for drivers:

"If you're not comfortable in the snow, don't get out in the snow. They should slow down, increase their following distances, decrease their speed and slow down and just pay attention."

On Christmas Day, state police responded to nearly 2,000 calls for help across the entire state.

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