Sheriff’s spokesman: If you drive, ‘expect to get stuck’

Published: Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014 4:46 p.m. CDT

Lt. Pat Gengler, spokesman for the Kane County Sheriff’s Office, said he hopes county residents who drive into the snowy conditions expected this weekend will be prepared for what they will face.

A winter storm warning will be in effect through 6 p.m. today, with 6 to 10 inches of snow anticipated during that time. Gengler said drivers should “expect to get stuck.”

“I keep hammering home the same message – be prepared,” said Gengler, who has issued news releases on a regular basis during the extreme winter weather the county has experienced this year. “If you choose to go out, expect to get stuck. Then, if you do, you’ll be prepared for it.”

He said drivers should have a charged cellphone and a full tank of gas, and said they should “be prepared to be in your car for an extended period of time.”

The National Weather Service forecast called for snow to begin Friday night and continue through today. Snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour will be possible by mid-morning today.

“It’s a significant snow event,” said Amy Seeley, a meteorologist with the weather service.

The harsh winter weather has had an impact on salt supplies. Last week, St. Charles School District 303 officials said they had run out of salt. On Friday, the village of Sugar Grove sent out a news release indicating that “the use of salt for the foreseeable future will be focused on primary streets,” and asked that “all motorists use extra
caution.”

Gengler said it’s difficult for sheriff’s department officials to come to the aid of motorists in such conditions. He said it can be frustrating when officers talk to stranded drivers and find that their reasons for going out don’t seem to be urgent. He said such drivers should understand that they could wind up with a bill from tow truck drivers, who “aren’t doing this for free.” And he said in such conditions, people should consider themselves fortunate to be able to get a tow truck to come.

As for those who might have AAA membership, he said there have been significant waits, and he said officials might be forced to remove the vehicle before that assistance arrives.

He said the winter has been a challenge, and “each one of these winter events has had its own personality.” He said this storm appears that it will cause “really, really difficult” travel situations, at least until this afternoon. He said people should “think twice” about going out if the reason for driving can wait until the storm has passed and the streets have been cleared.

“They might have to delay running to the store,” he said.

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Jan Schlictmann at a Geneva law firm.

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