SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane County spokeswoman Martha Lou Wheatley-Billeter said the county is trying to get ahead of a problem before it ramps up any further.
She said that with back-to-back snowstorms, and more snow on the way, some plow drivers are reporting dangerous, borderline violent, run ins with residents.
In the north part of the county, Wheatley-Billeter said they've received reports of people throwing shovels at plow drivers as they go by and in one case, a man threatened to kick a snow plow driver's butt (he used another word).
"There are some citizens that are so frustrated they throw shovels at equipment, call and complain in heated terms, they yell, curse, flip us off, all of that," Wheatley-Billeter told KHQ by phone.
Wheatley-Billeter is calling for patience. She said crews are working 12-hour shifts, 24 hours a day, and have been since January 10. She's aware that patience is running thin, but she wants everyone to know that the crews are working as hard as possible, and will continue to do so at least through the weekend.
"Any threats," Wheatley-Billeter said, "or trying to keep a public employee from doing their job is illegal. And depending on the severity of the encounter, we may have to call in a sheriff's deputy and charges may be filed."
Wheatley-Billeter said that last winter they had an incident where a man actually threatened a plow driver with a gun, and sheriff's deputies were called in on that incident. They spoke to the man, and the county decided not to press charges.
"But you can't threaten people," Wheatley-Billeter reiterated. "They're there to do a job."
Wheatley-Billeter said she wanted to send out a preemptive statement, letting everyone know we're all on this together. She added that people also need to pull their garbage cans on their property, and move things like basketball hoops. She also wants people to make sure they're keeping up on their storm drains, because the weather will eventually warm up, and all that snowmelt will need to drain. If your storm drain is clogged, that could create a dangerous situation, both for your neighborhood and the county employees.