As the wet, sticky snow dropped on Nashville Wednesday afternoon leading to an evening of creeping traffic, frustrated drivers and wrecked and abandoned vehicles, Metro police moved to prioritize its response.
Police received 117 non-injury wrecks and 14 injury wrecks between 3:30 and 6 p.m. Wednesday.
With traffic snarled and officers tied up, the police department realigned its sights, and from about 6 to 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, the MNPD responded only to accidents involving injuries, while still working the usual battery of calls that roll in.
Police asked motorists involved in non-injury accident to simply exchange information and move on as efficiently as possible.
While no additional officers were called onto the streets, police spokesman Don Aaron said about 45 Flex Unit officers who usually work interdiction operations in crime hot spots shifted focus to responding to calls.
The snow that caused many motorists strife actually helped lead police to two suspects accused of burglarizing a residence on Lischey Avenue.
Officers responding to the call traced footprints in the snow that led them to three abandoned stolen television sets near a fence that had been cut along Ellington Parkway.
From there, the tracks led them to the rear of North Ninth Street where, after a brief foot chase, a 17-year-old juvenile and an adult were taken into custody for the burglary.
Officers on foot and in cars also had to respond to a report of a missing 9-year-old that came in around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, after a mother on Towers Avenue reported the boy had been missing since 2:30 that afternoon when he’d gone to a friend’s house. She didn’t, however, know where the friend lived.
Police found the child a couple of hours later safe and warm at the friend’s house.
“As far as the gridlock is concerned, when an event at the [arena] lets out or when a Titans game is over everyone knows and expects there’s going to be a traffic jam …,” Aaron said.
“What you had yesterday once the snow began to fall was everyone leaving work trying to head home at the same time, not in staggered departures as you would normally see.”
Metro police began responding to non-injury accident calls again at 10:45 p.m. Wednesday, after midnight shift officers checked in and hit the streets.
By 2 a.m. Thursday, the backlog of calls had diminished, Aaron said. He was not aware of any wrecks involving police vehicles.