ALLEGAN COUNTY, Mich. – An Allegan County Sheriff's Department vehicle was rear-ended, then one man went into surgery after his tow truck was hit on northbound U.S. 131 Thursday.
As sirens blared, more than 20 cars, semi-trucks, and displaced drivers lined northbound U.S. 131 Thursday, deputies said. The freeway was shut down for more than two hours, during near whiteout conditions and icy roads between the Martin and Plainwell exits.
"Slide-offs? I've lost count at this point,” said Sergeant Eric Speese, with the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department.
One deputy and his K-9 partner were rear-ended while parked investigating another accident. They are said to be shaken up but not injured.
Then family of Roger Brock, owner of Brock Towing in Plainwell, told FOX 17 he was hit while driving his tow truck to a call.
Family said they are grateful for the first responders who spent 45 minutes pulling apart Brock’s wrecker to take him to the hospital. Thursday afternoon, Brock’s daughter-in-law said he was in surgery with a broken leg, collapse lung, and cuts on his head and face.
"He was alert and talking, there were some obvious injuries, but those will be evaluated down in Kalamazoo,” said Speese.
Deputies said this kind of weather is always a hazard for any drivers, but first responders during Thursday’s crashes said many people were driving too fast for these conditions.
As always this time of year, deputies remind drivers to leave early, slow down, and leave space between you and the next vehicle.
"The big thing I encourage people to do is to slow down,” said Speese.
“Even on my way down here there were people driving way too fast, and we see the results of that right now. So I encourage people to take their time, leave earlier if you need to get somewhere, and just get there safely."
Allegan County deputies said they lost count of how many slide-offs there were Thursday. Meanwhile, Ottawa County deputies said there were at least 162 slide-offs reported.