My township has a major river running through. The Cuyahoga River valley is crossed by massive highway spans with traffic whizzing overhead and no idea of life in the valley below. Down here we citizens get across the river by driving into the valley, crossing the river on one of several bridges, climbing back up on roads built on ridges of our old glacial moraine.
The roads all twist and turn as they follow the ridges; the grade change is three hundred or more feet over a couple of miles. Great motorcycle roads. And there are accidents occasionally.
Some of the roads belong to and are maintained by the state or the county. Most belong to and are maintained by the township. This story is about a freak ice storm in the valley late last winter. It hit and left in half an hour. It began as rain and coated the roads with ice in less than the time required to drive into the valley, or out.
Truxell Road (called Kendall Road at the top) is a county road that winds down into the valley. A car spun out of control half way down, at Kendall Lake. Someone was injured, emergency crews were sent. The police, first responders, started down Kendall from the top. At the accident they slid off the road. EMS started up from the bottom. The EMS ambulance could not get up the hill, in spite of its weight.
One of our road crew was passing on Akron Peninsula road, at the foot of the hill, on the way to salt township roads. The ambulance crew stopped him. It was a county road, but the county crews hadn't come yet; it was an emergency, could the township truck help?
Doug was driving this time. Like the little train that could he started up head first, and in a few feet slid back, as the ambulance had done. Only one thing to do. He turned the truck around and went up the hill backwards, spraying salt all the way. The turns are not hairpin, but they are continuous. He did it hanging out the door, his head coated in ice as he backed slowly, the EMS fellows hanging out their windows and cheering him on.
They made it to the lake; he dumped more than enough salt to let the EMS crew work and to free the police cruiser. Doug claims the first thing he said to the police on the scene, “I hope you fellows closed all these roads at the top of the hill; I’m not going to bail out any more of your sorry county butts with township salt!”
After it was all squared away, he went back to work on township roads. He received a commendation from the township trustees.