Warming Centers for the Metro St. Louis Area
Closings: Schools, churches, day-cares and businesses

How police and first responders handle welfare checks for stranded motorists

ST. LOUIS, MO - Thousands of drivers spent hours trapped on metro highways during Friday night's storm. Now, Fox 2 is learning more about the process police officers used to check on the safety of drivers.

Police state in Missouri there were 900 reports of accidents taken between Friday night and Saturday afternoon. Police said that number does not include accidents where drivers exchanged information without calling officers to the scene.

Missouri State Highway Patrol said they sent dozens of troopers to an area of I-44 where hundreds of drivers were trapped on the highway for hours. They said they received a report about a new mother who needed a breast pump and said they were able to obtain one and get it to her car.

Corporal Justin Wheetley with the Missouri State Highway Patrol said some troopers were also trapped in the traffic, so he said they got out of their patrol cars and did welfare checks on foot. He said some officers even bought snacks to give out to people who were trapped in their cars.

Police said they want drivers to know when they see a car that is tagged with caution tape on the side of the road that it means the vehicle has already been inspected for people. They said they mark the car with caution tape so they don't waste valuable time checking on the same vehicle more than once.

MoDOT told Fox 2 that prior to the storm they reached out to law enforcement and asked for their assistance tagging vehicles and checking on the welfare of trapped motorists.

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