Last week’s winter storm led to spinouts on icy roads and brief, scattered power outages locally, but there were no weather-related deaths and no major incidents in Cheatham County, according to multiple departments.
The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency issued a county-by-county breakdown of deaths associated with the ice and snow across the state, showing six such fatalities total — none in Cheatham.
TEMA’s statement, issued late afternoon on Feb. 18, said one of the deaths was in Dickson County. There, earlier on Feb. 18, 77-year-old farmer Donald Mitchell of Vanleer died trying to save two calves that had fallen through ice into a pond on his property, according to the Dickson County Sheriff’s Office.
In Cheatham, just east of the Dickson County line near Ashland City, another incident involving a calf falling through ice into a pond had a happy ending.
Firefighters from Ashland City and the Harpeth Ridge volunteer squad managed to save the calf, which authorities said belongs to Jimmy Simpkins. The rescue was made the morning of Feb. 17.
Cheatham County Emergency Management Agency Director Edwin Hogan, who is also the county fire chief, said he knew of no deaths, fires or serious car crashes from the approximately week-long storm.
Hogan said there were occasional power outages but none that were widespread or that lasted long. TEMA’s statement said that as of 5 p.m. on Feb. 18 there were 12,000 customers without power statewide in seven counties — Cheatham not among them.
Hogan said members of his department picked up prescription medicine for people in two households who were unable to get out.
“Other than that, it’s been pretty quiet, which we’re thankful for,” Hogan said by phone Feb. 19 as sunshine finally broke through in the region.
A Cheatham County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher said by phone that there were multiple reports last week of vehicles sliding off roads and sometimes getting stuck, but there appeared to be no accidents with life-threatening injuries.
Tennessee Highway Patrol Lt. Charlie Caplinger said by email Feb. 19 he was unaware of any serious crashes in Dickson or Cheatham counties during the week-long storm.
Ashland City Fire Chief Chuck Walker also had a positive assessment.
“We didn’t experience nearly as many wrecks as we have in years’ past when there’s been ice and snow,” he said by phone Feb. 19, adding there were no fires either.
Walker’s department and the Harpeth Ridge Volunteer Fire Department teamed up to save the bull calf on the Simpkins property. Firefighters reached the animal by boat, tied a rope around his neck and ushered him to shore.
Walker said Simpkins was preparing to feed his calves when he saw one in distress in the freezing water. Simpkins then called authorities.
The calf was expected to make a full recovery, according to Walker.
Just as county EMA personnel picked up prescriptions for people who were stuck at home, so too did members of Walker’s department, he said.
Tennessee highway authorities had most lanes cleared on roads in state jurisdiction by the morning of Feb. 19.
“After a grueling week of winter weather, Tennessee Department of Transportation crews have been able to clear most lanes on state-owned roadways in Middle Tennessee,” TDOT said in a statement.
Beginning Feb. 14 and continuing through the morning of Feb. 19, “TDOT has used approximately 27,500 tons of salt and logged over 170,000 miles clearing and treating roadways across 26 counties in Middle Tennessee.”