Unplowed Side Street Snarls Ambulance In Emergency

CHICAGO (CBS) – Lingering snow drifts on Chicago’s residential side streets are an annoyance to many, but they became a matter of life and death for one South Side resident Thursday evening.

CBS 2’s Kris Habermehl watched from the air as an ambulance became mired in nearly 2 feet of snow on the unplowed St. Lawrence Avenue at 66th Street.

A female, middle-aged stroke victim was loaded onto the ambulance but the vehicle became stuck. The driver rocked the vehicle back and forth, and it got wedged dangerously close to a fire hydrant.

Two firefighters and one of the paramedics finally pushed it of the worst snow. But ten minutes were wasted.

“It’s sad,” the stroke victim’s granddaughter, Elaine Naylor, told CBS 2’s Mike Parker when asked about the snow impediment.

St. Lawrence is one of a half-dozen streets in the area that had not been touched by city plows. Most of the side streets have receiving what appear to be single passes with a small plow, creating a passable route.

The alleys where many people park in garages have not received that much attention. In one alley, a plow piled snow in the middle of the pathway before stopping.

City crews typically focus on major arteries during a major snowfall, then move on to side streets. With this week’s blizzard, some residents in the city’s deeper pockets are still wedged in.

  • angela

    It’s a shame that to get coverage on the south side of chicago, an emergency vehicle must get stuck in the snow. All coverage Wednesday was on the north side. The South and West sides of the City has been ignored by both the City and the media.

  • sandra

    I can’t believe that you even reported on this! Sure it’s sad but truly what could have happened. It was a terrible time for all of us. I think is storm was handled in the best possible way. Who could have done better?

    • rnacj

      Curious to where you live Sandra

      • RMACK

        I also had a co-worker stranded on Lake Shore Drive until 6:00 A.M. We left work between 3:30-4:00. ” I think is storm was handled in the best possible way”. REALLY

  • rmack

    It would have had to be a gang related shooting for the media to come report on the south side

  • JeanSC

    There are snowcoaches made which could have easily negotiated this unplowed road, but I don’t know if any vehicles are now made which can use both plowed and unplowed streets here, or which are the size of our regular ambulances. I just e-mailed a manufacturer of related vehicles with these questions. Snowmobiles with enclosed passenger compartments aren’t new, but I don’t know about my other questions, which is why I asked that manufacturer. Maybe there’s a niche which needs to be filled.

  • kevgood

    It is amazing how ill equipped Chicago’s fire departments are. Did you know that if the power goes out in most fire houses in the city, they don’t even have a backup generator to employ? I don’t know if pathetic or primitive is the better word to use to describe this.

    This is poor service. As long as Lincoln Park and Wrigleyville are fine, then the city is free to continue providing 3rd World quality service to the other 90% of the city.

    Not sure why we don’t demand more for the tons and tons of tax dollars we spend to line our so called leaders pockets.

    • Jake

      What would a fire house need a generator for? What’s more important is that they have the equipment they need to help the people in need, which they have.

      People need to stop complaining about how THEIR area is ignored. We got 20 inches of snow and theres like 3 million people living in Chicago. Pick up a snow shovel and dig yourself out. I live in a pretty average neighborhood in the northside and the plow trucks haven’t come through our street either. But our alleys and street is drivable because almost most of the neighbors came out and cleared it themselves.


  • Ginny Nolan

    The city did a good job for one of the top blizzards we’ve encountered in 120+ years. We have streets that are plowed and streets which have yet to be done. But instead of waiting for the city to save us, we got out there and shoveled and plowed and snow blowed the streets OURSELVES. I honestly don’t know what people expect? You were TOLD TO PREPARE!!!

    I hope the lady is doing well and my deepest sympathies to the family our their loss of their family.



  • http://www.germanporcelaincollectibles.info/german-vase/ German Vase | GERMAN PORCELAIN COLLECTIBLES

    […] interested in seeing on camera. And it’s not that the business is bad, it’s just the side effects of the business. (They’re) getting a pretty good chunk of change money-wise for just […]

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live