BREAKING NEWS: Abandoned and stranded vehicles to be towed; plowing efforts being hampered

Kent and Sussex counties are still removing disabled and abandoned vehicles from roads on their secondary and local back roads, state officials reported Thursday afternoon, noting that the vehicles have been hampering efforts to clear roads and respond to emergencies.

Through Wednesday night and Thursday morning, stranded motorists had to be removed from their cars and taken to shelters. The Delaware National Guard, Delaware State Police and local law enforcement and emergency responders have been extremely busy taking care of these stranded motorists and trying to get roads free of vehicles, they said.

There were more than 200 additional reports of disabled vehicles across the state Wednesday night. Abandoned vehicles remain a significant challenge for emergency personnel. Such vehicles, some of which are blocking routes to healthcare centers, are being towed at the owners' expense. The Department of Transportation is working to clear the roads of snow, but this effort has been hampered by the need to move abandoned vehicles.

Motorists in all counties are asked to be part of the response team and to be patient as crews work to restore the state’s roads to safe condition for driving. Even in New Castle County, roads will still have icy patches and visibility may be hampered by large piles of plowed snow and drifts of blowing snow. Daytime temperatures will remain in the 30s and nighttime temperatures will drop to 20s and, in some cases, teens. The snow will stay in the state and along roads, crossovers and intersections for a while. When all driving restrictions are lifted, motorists should allow themselves extra time to travel and monitor websites and news reports regarding their travel routes.

The travel modification is intended to allow critical commercial activities and travel on major routes as they become passable. However, motorists are still strongly advised to stay off the roads. In some areas, local restrictions remain in place. Private-sector businesses are urged to consider the safety of employees when deciding when to resume operations.

Red Cross shelters remain open at William Penn High School, Sussex Central High School and Milford Middle School.

The joint public relations team, representing the Delaware State Police, the Delaware Emergency Management Agency, the Delaware Department of Transportation, the Office of Highway Safety and the Delaware National Guard will continue to provide updates as the situation evolves. Non-emergency calls should be directed to the Delaware Helpline at 1-800-464-4357.

Abandoned and stranded vehicles being towed

Under authority granted by Delaware Gov. Jack Markell in his State of Emergency declaration, a joint command including the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT), Delaware State Police (DSP) and the Delaware National Guard (DNG) has begun removing stranded and abandoned vehicles from roadways statewide, officials announced Thursday afternoon.

Motorists who may have abandoned a vehicle are being advised that they should, if it’s safe to do so, return to the vehicle and move it. Those vehicles that remain on the roads will be towed.

Motorists who return and find their vehicles have been removed should contact the State Police troop that serves the area by calling the telephone numbers listed below. Callers seeking information on towed vehicles should not call 911.

DSP will provide information to individuals as to where their vehicles have been towed. Private towing companies work under contract to the State of Delaware. As a result, costs to recover vehicles are determined by the towing companies and will vary. The State does not receive the recovery fees.

The contact information for the various State Police troops is as follows:

Delaware State Police: Troop 1
603 Philadelphia Pike
Wilmington, DE 19809

Delaware State Police: Troop 5
16359 Sussex Highway
Bridgeville, DE 19933

Delaware State Police: Troop 2
100 Lagrange Ave
Newark, DE 19702

Delaware State Police: Troop 6
3301 Kirkwood Highway
Wilmington, DE 19808

Delaware State Police: Troop 3
3036 Upper King Rd
Dover, DE 19904

Delaware State Police: Troop 7
18006 Coastal Highway
Lewes, DE 19958

Delaware State Police: Troop 4
23652 Shortly Rd
Georgetown, DE 19947

Delaware State Police: Troop 9
414 Main Street
Odessa, DE 19730