Tow truck drivers brave dangerous road conditions to help drivers trapped in snow

MADERA COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- From Coarsegold to Oakhurst to Fish Camp, snow was falling in various parts of the foothills Wednesday night, hitting an elevation level as low as 2,000 feet.

"Today was pretty hectic," said tow truck driver Patrick Ratzlaff. He says the icy roads left dangerous conditions for drivers.

Ratzlaff shared pictures of some of the people he had to rescue after they either skidded into a tree, off the roadway or got trapped in thick mud.

"I've been doing this for 17 years, and you see a lot of things. It is stressful," Ratzlaff said.

With snow levels in the mountains dropping to potentially 1,000 feet Thursday morning,

The Madera County Sheriff's Office is warning people that there is ice in areas that do not often face those conditions.

For areas that are difficult to reach, Sgt Joseph Wilder says they have a specially outfitted Jeep to help people, especially the elderly, or those with special needs, reach treacherous locations.

"We can load them into it, rather than hike in the mountains," he said.

Meantime, as you prepare for tomorrow, Wilder has three simple tips for you, "Watch your speeds, carry chains, and take your time."

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