A blanket of ice on roads since Monday has made driving hazardous, but serious wrecks have been a rarity in Covington and Newton County, according to law enforcement officials Tuesday.
"We've probably had an increase of accidents," said Covington Police Lt. Wendell Wagstaff, "but a lot of them are people sliding into ditches and things like that. We haven't had to shut down roads or anything like that."
Lawmen said that residents taking heed of warnings about icing on the highways and staying at home has helped immensely.
Covington/Newton County 911 began reporting several icy patches and the Georgia Department of Transportation urged everyone to stay off the roads beginning Sunday night when a wintery mix of rain, sleet and snow began falling around Newton County. One car flipped on Old Atlanta Highway behind Longhorn's Sunday night, and several vehicles were reported to have had slid off roads and wrecked.
"The roads are still very icy in the city," warned Wagstaff. "We don't have as much snow removal equipment available to us as they do in the north," he said. "The DOT and county and city employees have worked together and done a fantastic job. But everything is still slick. We're just asking that people continue to stay home if they can."
According to Newton County Sheriff's Office 1st Lt. Mark Mitchell, things in the county have mirrored the city, few accidents, thanks to people staying off the roads.
"It looks like people are heeding state and local official's warnings to stay off the roads," he said. "We hope they will continue to do that and if they have to drive, not become complacent and let their guard down. It is still pretty icy throughout the county."
Mitchell said that state and local officials have worked throughout the night salting areas that are reported as icy and scraping the roads but residents are still urged to stay home if possible.
"I would also ask that everyone continue to be patient because our response times are delayed because of the ice," Mitchell said.
Georgia State Patrol spokesman Gordy Wright said in an e-mail that there have been no road closures in Newton County, included Interstate 20, which was closed in Rockdale County. He also said that troopers only responded to one accident in the county and that accident did not result in serious injuries.