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Close call prompts plow driver to warn about playing in snow piles

SPANISH FORK — A Spanish Fork snowplow driver narrowly missed children who were playing in a snow tunnel that they had dug in a pile of snow on the street.

The Wednesday incident prompted the city of Spanish Fork put a message on social media urging parents to be careful as their kids play in the deep snow.

“A lot of children probably haven’t seen this much snow, so their parents may not have had the opportunity to tell them about the dangers of a snowplow on the road," said Tyler Jacobson, Spanish Fork assistant city manager.

Louis Schardine has been plowing snow for the city for more than five years. “It was one of the scariest things that I had been through in a while,” Schardine said Thursday. "It really shook me for a while."

He’s never been so busy, getting called out in the middle of the night and working long hours. All the plow drivers like Schardine are doing their best to move the snow as fast as they can, putting it wherever they can.

In residential areas that means giant piles of snow are forming everywhere and, of course, they attract the kids. “Especially with all the storms we’ve had, it’s just a playground for them,” Schardine said.

Kids run and jump and sled off those piles, and they dig tunnels to crawl through, but in order to widen the streets, the plow drivers have to move those piles with the plow blades, and Schardine had a very scary moment.

“I was about 10 feet away from this pile and I seen two hands pop out of the snow,” Schardine said. “Just two little gloves, and I barely had enough time to swing my blade around and miss that pile.”

When he pulled over and looked back, he saw three children climb out of the tunnel that he had just missed. Fortunately no one was hurt.

“It was one of the scariest things that I had been through in a while," he said.

Schardine has seen children playing too close to the road often in the past few weeks and says he’s being extra careful now as he travels from street to street.

He urges all parents to keep their children away from the streets and the plows. “I’d like to see them playing in the yard or in a park designated for sledding on the mountain.”