Rushville Republican

February 4, 2014

RCHS grad recalls havoc in Atlanta

By Aaron Kirchoff Rushville Republican
Rushville Republican

---- — When people in Indiana hear about a possible 1 to 2 inches of snow, they are relieved that it is not more. But in the part of the country, snow and ice can make for a hectic day on the roadways.

The city of Atlanta and the surrounding area was a good example of that last week. The snow storm that dumped a couple inches of snow on the Deep South caused a gridlock on the highways in metro Atlanta.

Former Rushville resident and RCHS graduate Rod Houk had a first-hand look at the event. Houk lives in a suburb of Atlanta and his 20 mile trek from work to home took him 11 hours.

“Unbelievable,” Houk said. “I’ve never seen anything like it – abandoned cars everywhere.”

“I still have my Indiana driving skills, but it really was unbelievable,” Houk added. “You kind of got a feeling like a ‘zombieland.’ People were abandoning their cars and just trying to walk home. You’d come up on an area of just abandoned cars, kind of a helpless feeling.”

Houk said the problem was not so much the amount of snow, but the fact that everything happened at the same time.

“It started to snow around 11 a.m. Schools started letting out between noon and 1 p.m. and then business started closing between noon and 2 p.m.,” Houk said. “So you had everyone on the roads at the same time, kind of a perfect storm of everything happening at the same time.”

The hills in around the Atlanta area played a major role in the slick conditions, especially after dark.

“You couldn’t get up hills because you lose traction and coming down, you could slide into the car in front of you,” Houk said. “There were cars accumulated at the bottom of the hills and you couldn’t get through.”

Houk left work to head home around 1:30 p.m. and at that point, “it was already a wall of traffic. I rarely touched the gas pedal.”

Despite the tough conditions and the long day, Houk said he saw many good Samaritans out and about.

“Everybody had amazing attitudes as far as what I experienced,” Houk added. “Most were patient. People were out by the roads telling you not to go down certain roads because of the traffic. Others were helping push cars along. Some were even offering food and water.”

About nine hours into his trek home, someone gave Houk bottled water and he said it didn’t take long for him to down the water.

“The gestures of the people were amazing,” Houk said.

Overall, Georgia State Patrol responded to some 1,500 car crashes. Houk’s vehicle was not one of them, but he said his alignment is going to need adjusting after bouncing off a few curbs.

Contact: Aaron Kirchoff at 765-932-2222, ext. 114