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After a long night of rescues, N.Y. deputies reach child trapped in a car

With driving so difficult, deputies turned to snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles for their rescues

NY rescue.JPG

Photo/Erie County Sheriff’s Office

By Maki Becker
The Buffalo News

BUFFALO, N.Y. — All night long, deputies with the Erie County Sheriff’s Office were out in the blizzard, searching for motorists stranded in their vehicles.

The worst conditions they faced were around Clarence and Grand Island, said Undersheriff William Cooley, which he called “our ground zero.”

Like most anyone who was hardy enough to attempt to drive, the deputies, even in their four-wheel drive patrol vehicles, were getting stuck. Saturday morning, the Sheriff’s Office had seven of their vehicles out of service.

But people were getting stranded all over northern and eastern Erie County, Cooley said.

Overnight, some motorists who got stuck on Walden Avenue in Alden sought shelter at the Erie County Correctional Facility and spent the night in the unsecured areas.

The jails prepared in advance for the storm, Cooley said. “We had good supplies, food, provisions and medicine,” he said.

With driving so difficult, deputies turned to snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles for their rescues. One even brought his own plow.

Late Saturday morning, rescuers turned their attention to a particularly difficult situation — a father called 911 saying he and his 3-year-old who was having medical problems were trapped in a car. They were on Bailey Avenue, near Elk Street.

“They have been doing this for about 24 hours straight now,” Cooley said. “They’re incredibly fatigued. But they’re going to make one more push to get to this individual with a young child.”

Around midday, deputies used a tracked utility terrain vehicle to get to their location and were able to safely transport the father and child to a nearby fire station.

Next, they were working on transporting snowmobiles from the Southtowns to Buffalo and the Northtowns to help with more rescues, Cooley said.

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