JOLIET, Ill. (STMW) — Police officers used snowmobiles to get around Wednesday in southwest suburban Joliet. And it was busy.

As the snow fell between 3 p.m. Tuesday and 10 a.m. Wednesday, police and fire dispatchers received 350 calls for service.

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“In addition to that number, we had 217 motorist assist calls for drivers stuck in the snow,” police Chief Fred Hayes said.

The calls for service included 31 traffic accidents, 47 burglar alarms, 20 well-being checks and 12 domestic violence incidents.

And some criminals didn’t let a blizzard deter them from a drive-by shooting.

As the storm kicked into full gear around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, a 27-year-old man was parked, with a friend in the car, in the 300 block of St. Jude Avenue.

“The two men were sitting there when a black Chevy pulled alongside the parked vehicle, and the passenger lowered the window and fired several times at the victim before the vehicle drove away,” Hayes said.

The man was struck five times, but is expected to survive. He was taken to Provena Saint Joseph Medical Center. No suspect information was available.

Detectives investigating the shooting were in uniform as most personnel expected to work under the emergency weather plan Hayes activated Tuesday morning. Police officers used four-wheel-drive SUVs to get around town, and some officers used their own snowmobiles to get around on the west side.

“Some of these neighborhoods are otherwise completely cut off,” Hayes said. “But there have been several heroic efforts by police officers and firefighters to locate and rescue stranded motorists.”

White-out Discoveries

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Around the same time as the shooting, police received several 911 calls from a driver who had gotten stuck on the West Side “with no idea where she was because of the whiteout conditions.”

“Officers in the area (County Line Road) couldn’t locate her from their vehicles so they began hiking on foot and radioed to the dispatchers to have the woman sound her horn so they could find her,” Hayes said. “They eventually did, but while they were treking through the snow, they came across an overturned semi-tractor and trailer that had been blown off the road, but they couldn’t see a truck until they almost walked over it.”

The truck driver was not injured.

The excitement continued at 10:12 p.m. Tuesday when a 25-year-old man got his car stuck on the railroad tracks at Laraway Road near Route 53.

“He got out to try and free the vehicle, and an Amtrak passenger train came along and struck the rear of the vehicle,” Hayes said. No one was hurt.

Trapped By Snow

Police spent some of Wednesday morning using the parking garage of Harrah’s Casino as a motor pool so each shift could transfer four-wheel drive vehicles.

Heavy-duty vehicles were needed for the far west side where Clublands, Lakewood Prairie, Sable Ridge and Greywall Club subdivisions remained blocked from the road, impacted approximately 10,000 residents. Public works snowplows had been able to get some main roads by Wednesday evening and had begun clearing the side streets.

Police and tow trucks spent time towing vehicles that blocked the snowplows, including about 20 from Caton Farm Road. The vehicles were being towed to the parking lot of Plainfield South High School.

“We’re hoping people stay home (Thursday) while we continue to dig ourselves out from all this snow,” Hayes said.

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— Joliet Herald-News, via the Sun-Times Media Wire