LaPorte County snow emergency ends

The Snow Emergency is over in LaPorte County where blizzard conditions subsided today.

Along State Road 421 cars started coming out of the ditch, the same way they went in--one at a time.

Leonard Petrone was on the tow truck crew from John’s Garage that was working S.R. 421.

“We’re going to be done today,” he said, “I need a nap.”

On one two mile stretch of S.R. 421 alone, Petrone and his crew removed nine cars and trucks from ditches and drifts.

Max Gulab of Wanatah left his truck along S.R. 421 on Sunday night. Today he returned with a shovel to find just the tips of the roof rack peeking out of the snow.

“Coming into Westville,” Gulab said, “as soon as you left Westville it was pure white out, you couldn’t see a thing. It’s as bad as I’ve ever seen it.”

Max certainly wasn’t alone. By noon 15 cars and trucks had been pulled out and piled up at the towing yard at John’s Garage near Wanatah.

Meanwhile, at a makeshift shelter for stranded motorists at the Westville Fire Department, prison guard Julie Spitznagle was plotting her escape.

“My objective is to get out of LaPorte County, I live in the Plymouth area in a small town called Tyner so I’m hoping I can get down the road and get to my home base soon,” she said.

On Sunday night, about 30 stranded motorists slept at the shelter. By Monday night, the number had dwindled to eight. By today at noon, Julie was the last stranded motorist on hand.

“I’ve been here since Sunday night; I was leaving work and got stuck on a county road,” Spitznagle explained.

Because stranded cars on county roads were last in line to be dealt with, Julie was the last person to leave the shelter.

“No, I did not expect to be the last one, I was hoping to be out of here sooner, but I understood about the urgency to get the cars off the main roads before they got to the county roads because they’ve got to make sure they’re plowed and everything first before wreckers can even get down there to get the cars.”

Julie was freed from the shelter today at about 2:30 p.m. local time, when she got the call that her car had been pulled from the ditch.

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