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Bell County first responders receive overwhelming number of crash calls during Thursday's ice storm

Posted at 8:59 PM, Feb 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-11 22:00:01-05

From black ice to piles of slush, Central Texas drivers experienced it all on Thursday during an ice storm.

However, for those who moved to Texas from the north, like Mike and Patricia Woolensack, driving in the wintry weather may be easy. So, they offered their advice.

“Stay home, and if you gotta go out, increase your interval and slow down,” Mike said while laughing.

But for a lot of Central Texans, that’s not the case. Many are new to driving in such harsh conditions.

That’s why officers with the Texas Department of Public Safety were busy responding to those needing help, specifically in Bell County, where the ice seemed to pile up.

“There are 56 Troopers between here in the Waco area and Hillsboro” said Sgt. Bryan Washko with DPS. “The majority of them are working crashes right now.”

25 News asked Sgt. Washko how many calls his units responded to. His response? "Too many to count."

“The probability of being involved in a crash is very high with the icy conditions,” he explained. “What we had a month ago, that snow, you're able to get some traction on that, but this is just black ice and slush.”

The conditions proved challenging for those in Temple. The Temple Police Department took to Facebook and said there were 27 crashes Thursday.

That’s why neighboring counties stepped in to help Bell County when it was needed.

“We've had numerous calls for assistance out on the highways that come in to Copperas Cove from other neighboring communities,” said Deputy Chief Gary Young of the Copperas Cove Fire Department.

Deputy Chief Young said his department responded to three calls where they had to go out and help motorists. Two of those calls resulted in passengers going to the hospital with injuries.

Officials say those accidents can be avoided if you stay home. If you do have to travel, drive slowly, maintain a good distance between your car and the car in front of you and slow down when you see or hear first responders.