Wrecker crews restore order on roads
by W. Winston Skinner
As temperatures dropped, snow fell and ice began to coat roads, most Cowetans headed home from work.
If they went into the snow, it was to play with their children. Otherwise, they wrapped up in a blanket or put a log on the fire and settled into a comfortable chair. For some local residents, however, merciless weather means it is time to get busy.
Local wrecker services reported a surge in calls from Tuesday-Thursday, as Cowetans and others coped with suddenly dropping temperatures that sent some cars into a tailspin and left others stranded — sometimes on the interstate. Across the metro Atlanta region, there were tales about stalled commuters who left their cars and found a Waffle House near an exit — a refuge for food, warmth, a bathroom break and some human interaction.
Angie McCullough, who owns Stephens Wrecker in Newnan, said the last few days have been busy. “Our company is the only wrecker service with a 4x4 — so when the roads were too icy for rollbacks we were running call-to-call in the 4x4 wrecker, pulling folks out of ditches,” she said.
“We literally were driving roads and pulling people as we saw them. Our guys ran all night for two days,” she said. “I would say we ran 20-30 calls a day just due to ice.”
McCullough’s husband works for Parker’s Wrecker Service. “He stayed in their big rotator — pulling semi trucks out for two days, night and day,” she said.
McCullough said Parker’s and Stephens collaborated to help as many people as possible. “It's nice to work together with Parker's,” she said.
“They have the big wrecker and we have the 4x4. We went on several calls together — helping people who were stranded,” she said.
The Huddle House at Exit 41 near Moreland usually is open until midnight, but owner-manager Dick Ford sent the employees home at 3:30 on Tuesday. “Wednesday we opened at 6 (a.m.) and stayed open until 8:30 p.m. Not many places were open, so we were covered up — about 75 percent over normal,” Ford said.
Many local people “had cabin fever today and just wanted to get out of the house,” Ford reported late Thursday.
He said those who came to the restaurant were “very cordial and patient.”
Ford also said he and his staff were worn out after the busy time.