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Storm keeps deputies, troopers busy

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By John Barnhart

    The area’s first winter storm of the season kept law enforcement busy last Wednesday. It initially started as heavy rain, but by mid-morning pellets of ice were falling from the sky, mingled with the rain.
    “It got slick fast,” said Maj. Ricky Gardner of the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office.
    Maj. Gardner said that road problems started in the west end of the county. This is normal in winter storms. He said that U. S. 460 in Villamont and Stewartsville Hill are the first places that accident reports come from when roads start getting slick.
    “We were backing up troopers yesterday,” he said in a Thursday morning phone interview. “There, for about two hours, the guys had just about all we could do,” he said. “It hit so fast that I think it caught some folks off guard.”    
    Maj. Gardner said he was thankful that the icing didn’t happen during the morning commute time.
    “We were swamped,” said Sergeant J. D. Braziel, a local Virginia State Police sergeant.
    Sgt. Braziel said that additional troopers, who were scheduled to be off that day, were called in. He added that there were a large number of fender-bender accidents that day.
    Things were quiet in Bedford. Bedford City Police Chief Jim Day said that there were no accidents. However city police did respond to a minor accident in the county, on Va. 43.
    “We happened to be close, so we took it,” Chief Day said.