Winter weather returns to South Plains on anniversary of tragic first responder crash

Snow storm comes 1 year after tragic crash

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - A year after Lubbock first responders were struck while working an icy crash scene, several inches of snow will fall again on the South Plains.

“This is a momentous weekend for us here the Lubbock Police Department and the Lubbock Fire Department, as well,” LPD Public Information Officer Allison Matherly said. “We want to make sure that everyone is safe on our roadways, both our first responders and the citizens who are traveling.”

First responders gathered safely at Alliance Credit Union Friday for a breakfast ahead of the anniversary of the January 11th crash that took the life of LPD Officer Nicholas Reyna and LFR Lieutenant Eric Hill, as well as injured Firefighter Matt Dawson.

“We’ve been partnering with the 5-5-5 Safety organization in an effort to to recognize the sacrifices that so many of our first responders make every day and to show support and try to spread a little bit of community awareness,” CEO Matt Grannan said. “Move over. Slow down and take your time. We want everybody to come back to their families at the end of the day.”

Mark Hill, Eric Hill’s father, is the founder of 5-5-5 Safety. He urges everyone to take steps to do five things to plan for safety, act safely and to show love to others.

“Take your time, leave a little bit early, and keep yourself safe,” Hill said. “Keep our first responders and roadside workers safe, as well.”

Assistant Police Chief Neal Barron tells KCBD the LPD is asking its officer to prepare for the upcoming storm.

“We sent out some information as a reminder to have all your safety gear ready to go, extra cold weather gear and make sure your lights are clear of snow so people can see you while you’re out,” Barron said. “I think that will be foremost in all the first responders minds is to make sure that they position their vehicles and themselves in a manner where people can see.”

However, you’re asked to stay off the roads if at all possible in this weekend’s weather conditions.

“One of the most important parts of handling inclement weather is slow down, take your time, try to leave early, and do your part to help the guy next to you,” Lubbock Professional Firefighters Association President Joseph Wallace said. “If everybody’s in a rush and don’t prepare and plan properly, then we’re going to have problems. Then, we’re now on the roadway in inclement weather and our chance of getting injured increases dramatically.”

5-5-5 Safety is asking folks to leave their porch lights on Sunday through Monday night to honor the sacrifices made on January 11, 2020 and to remind everyone of traffic safety.

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