Lucas Co. sheriff stands by snow emergency reversals - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Lucas Co. sheriff stands by snow emergency reversals

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The Lucas County sheriff is facing criticism for his decision to go back to a Level 3 Snow Emergency just after 9 a.m. By that time, many parents had already left for work or dropped their kids off at daycare.

Some people are saying the sheriff put lives in danger. Some say he should not have gone to Level 2 in the first place early Wednesday morning, or he should've made the call to reverse back to a Level 3 by 7 a.m.

But the sheriff stands by his decision.

"We did the right thing," he says. "We made the right calls when they should've been made."

Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp defends his decisions, saying we'll never know whose lives may have been saved.

He says he issued the Level 3 Tuesday night to keep drivers off the road in order for the plows to have several hours to get ahead of the snow.

At 5 a.m., the sheriff switched to Level 2. He says the snow stopped, and, after hearing from his road officers and sergeants in police departments throughout the county, he determined roads were passable.

"The streets were very, very passable," the sheriff says. "If I had not gone to a Level 2 at 5 o'clock, people would've been saying, 'Why are you holding me hostage in my home?'"

But then the sheriff says there was an unexpected burst of heavy snow during a period when he thought it was supposed to be tapering off.  So, just after 9 a.m., as cars started sliding off the roads, he put the county back on a Level 3.

"If we would've known that we were going to get as much snow when we did, we never would've left a Level 3," he says.

While the sheriff stands by his decision, criticism remains. As of 11:00 p.m. Tuesday night, forecasts indicated heavy snowfall during the morning rush hour with reduced visibility.

The Level 3 snow emergency was eventually lifted at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon. Lucas County is now under a Level 2 emergency.

"I feel bad where you have folks that families that have babysitters and they're taking their children back and forth," says Tharp. "It throws the community into a spin. That is something that we don't like doing, but we have to and it's a responsibility of the sheriff to make the right decision for the safety of the folks in the community."

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