Spokane Co. officials say people threatening plow crews could face criminal charges

Strong winds create snow drifts, dangerous driving conditions
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SPOKANE CO., Wash. – Officials with Spokane County are asking members of the public to be patient and kind as more snow falls across the region.

More than a foot of snow has fallen in parts of the county and snow plow crews are doing their best to get the roads cleared.

“We ask the public to be patient and understand that crews have been working 12-hours shifts, 24/7 since January 10, 2020,” said Martha Lou Wheatley-Billeter, Spokane County Public Works Information and Outreach Manager.

In a phone call with 4 News Now, Wheatley-Billeter said the county understands that many community members are frustrated that their streets have not been plowed. But, as more snow falls and snow blows in some areas, plow drivers have to prioritize emergency roads.

She said citizens have gone as far as threatening county employees. Wheatley-Billeter said members of the public have thrown shovels, cursed and flipped off their crew members.

“With back-to-back storms, it’s been a week of slipping, sliding, shoveling… and frustration,” Wheatley-Billeter said. “However, when that frustration boils over into threatening plow drivers and grader operators – it’s unacceptable and depending on the severity of the encounter, could lead to criminal charges.”

Wheatley-Billeter referenced a case from last winter where a man threatened a plow driver with a gun. Another person once climbed on a grader, which is illegal. She said the county does not want to press charges, but will if they have to.

“We don’t want to do that. We just want to do our job,” Wheatley-Billeter said.

RELATED: Spokane County man sent to jail over neighbor dispute about snow

More snow will fall across the region, with between 1-3 inches expected on Saturday.

Citizens can track the progress of crews by going to www.spokanecounty.org/publicworks and clicking on the “Snow Plow Activity Map” on the home page.

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