CEDAR SPRINGS, Mich. — With record warm weather this December, Friday began as what’s become a normal “warm” winter day for Dillon Stanley of Jerry’s Towing.
But as he saw the first snowflake fall, that all changed.
Stanley received a phone call from one of his buddies who’s an EMS driver for Rockford.
“He said there’s a 50-car pileup and then after that the calls started coming in,” Stanley said. “Just left and right. It always gets the adrenaline going.”
Stanley was one of six companies working to clear US-131 near Cedar Springs on Friday.
“It did get cleaned up a lot faster,” he said. “I have been on a few big care pileups but I think in terms of tow truck companies we are kind of coming together now and I think we are all working as a family and it just makes things run smoother.”
Michigan State Police trooper Matthew Stanley said police would normally complete their reports on the freeway where the accident happened, but for everyone’s sake, they went with a different plan.
“We decided to bring all the cars down here to the park-and-ride (at 14 Mile Road) and drop them off and then head back out and keep picking cars up so that they can get them here,” he said. “And sort them out so we can get the freeway open and prevent any further crashes.”
Trooper Stanley said no tickets will be issued to any of the drivers involved in the accidents.
“It’s a weather related crash,” he said. “We don’t use the word ‘accident’ because in all reality these crashes are all preventable. If people are going that much slower it’s a very preventable crash.”
And speaking of preventable, we asked if salted highways would have made a difference.
“The road commission did everything they could and they got out there and salted everything when it got bad,” he said. “But it’s hard to get out there and lay a bunch of salt on dry road because people are going to complain about that too.”
Trooper Stanley and Dillon Stanley both said that no matter how much they warn people to drive carefully, they see the same thing happening time and time again.
“Just slow down, and move over for us any of us, for state troopers and tow truck drivers,” he said.
Trooper Stanley also advises to keep a blanket, extra coat, gloves—whatever you need to stay warm—because it usually takes longer for police to make it to drivers during pile-up and weather related road crashes.