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A winter full of spot news

Austin Ramos Jr. vigil

In my experience, the cold months are usually slow when it comes to spot news. Sure, you have accidents due to snow and ice, as well as a house fire or two. But overall, spot news is usually down.

That has not been my experience during the last four months or so.

I can’t count how many times I’ve been called out of bed in the morning or told to leave an assignment to get to breaking news these last few months.

Spot news doesn’t wait. Things change quickly so getting to the scene promptly gives you the best chance of making powerful images. However, that’s not always possible. Our newsroom isn’t staffed around the clock. Accidents that happen in the early morning hours may not be discovered by our staff until 6 a.m. or so. By that time, I am not going to get much action at the scene.

Often times when we get on scene, the main action is done and all that remains is an investigation.

With that in mind, realize that these may not be my strongest images from this period of time. This post is intended to show you the volume of spot news (or spot news related) scenes I’ve covered in addition to my normal workload over the past few months.

Let’s start back in November.

At the beginning of the month, an SUV rolled over and spun around on its roof and somehow ended up in some reasonably thing foliage. It turned out this was caused by a suspected drunk driver running from the police.

Fatal crash

A Cheverolet Tahoe rolled over and spun around to come to a rest on its roof and facing south about 1 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015, on North Central Avenue south of Kilburn Avenue. A 42-year-old passenger was killed. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2015

The same day, there was an accident between a motorcycle and a semi truck.

Motorcycle crash

Rockford Police work the scene of a accident between a motorcycle and a semi truck Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015, on Sandy Hollow Road at Merchandise Drive in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2015

Two days later, I was listening to the scanner and heard an accident on the west side of town. It wasn’t entirely clear what was going on but it sounded like a bad accident involving a tractor, and a medical helicopter was headed to the scene.

The main road to the scene was shut down so I worked my way around on back roads to get there.

When I got to the scene, I learned that an SUV had rear-ended a tractor pulling a small trailer causing the man on the trailer to be thrown. The speed limit on this road is 65mph.

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The next week, I responded to another horrible accident. This time, a pickup truck and a garbage truck were involved in an accident. The accident left a man pinned underneath the garbage truck.

garbage truck crash

Emergency responders work to free a man pinned under a garbage truck Monday, Nov. 9, 2015, after a crash on Baxter Road near I-39 in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2015

The pickup truck was a mangled pile of metal.

garbage truck crash

Emergency responders work the scene of a crash between a pickup truck and a garbage truck Monday, Nov. 9, 2015, on Baxter Road near I-39 in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2015

While we were at the scene, we learned that the man pinned under the truck was still alive.

garbage truck crash

Emergency responders work to free a man pinned under a garbage truck Monday, Nov. 9, 2015, after a crash on Baxter Road near I-39 in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2015

Emergency responders had to use a large tow truck to life the part of the garbage truck so they could cut around the man.

garbage truck crash

An OSF Life Flight helicopter lands on Baxter Road on Monday, Nov. 9, 2015, after an accident between a pickup truck and a garbage truck near I-39 in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2015

garbage truck crash

A tow truck assists emergency responders in freeing a man pinned under a garbage truck Monday, Nov. 9, 2015, on Baxter Road near I-39 in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2015

Once freed from the wreckage, the man was taken to a waiting medical helicopter.

garbage truck crash

Emergency responders carry a man to a waiting helicopter after freeing him from under a garbage truck Monday, Nov. 9, 2015, on Baxter Road near I-39 in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2015

We followed up with the families of those involved in the accident in January 2016.

garbage truck crash wife

Edyta “Edith” Mrugala talks about her husband, Stanislaw “Stan” Mrugala, on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, who was critically injured in an accident on Nov. 9 on Baxter Road in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

Later in the week, we had two shootings in one day. The first was outside of a popular gyro restaurant in downtown Rockford. The second was on a residential street on the southwest side of town.

rockford shooting

A Rockford Police officer collects evidence markers at the scene of a shooting Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015, on North Fifth Street between East State and East Jefferson streets in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2015

rockford shooting

Rockford Police officers work the scene of a shooting Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015, on North Fifth Street between East State and East Jefferson streets in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2015

southwest rockford shooting

A Rockford Police officer looks at a bullet hole in the side of a home after a shooting Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015, on the southwest corner of Delaware Street and South Pierpont Avenue in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2015

southwest rockford shooting

Rockford Police officers investigate a shooting Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015, at a home on the southwest corner of Delaware Street and South Pierpont Avenue in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2015

In December, there was a fatal shooting on the city’s west side.

concord shooting

Rockford Police work the scene of a shooting Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015, on the 600 block of Concord Avenue in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2015

concord shooting

Emergency vehicle lights shine through the windows of the Liberty Baptist Church van Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015, on the 600 block of Concord Avenue in Rockford. A fatal shooting occurred in a driveway next to the church. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2015

concord shooting

Rockford Police search a driveway at the scene of a fatal shooting Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015, on the 600 block of Concord Avenue in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2015

concord shooting

A woman talks with Rockford Police officers at the scene of a fatal shooting Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015, on the 600 block of Concord Avenue in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2015

On Jan. 14, 2016, I hadn’t even sat down at my desk when I heard scanner traffic about a rollover accident a block away from my office. It’s not often I can literally run to the scene. Police said the car was rear-ended which pushed it into a snowbank causing it to roll. The offending driver then fled the scene.

hit and run

Emergency responders take a patient to an ambulance Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, after a hit and run accident left a car on its roof at East State and Madison streets in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

hit and run

Emergency responders work the scene of a hit and run accident Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, that left a car on its roof at East State and Madison streets in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

hit and run

Emergency responders work the scene of a hit and run accident Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, that left a car on its roof at East State and Madison streets in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

A series of armed robberies led police (and us) on a chase around the city. We caught up with a man who’s garage was crashed into by a suspect vehicle.

armed robbery

Alex Fliehler looks at the damage done to his garage Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016, in an ally behind the 400 block of Welty Avenue in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

armed robbery

Police tape blocks off a garage Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016, after a car crashed into it behind a home in the 400 block of Welty Avenue in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

A few days later, we headed across the stateline to Beloit, Wis., to cover a vigil for a 5-year-old boy, Austin Ramos Jr., that was shot and killed in the back seat of his father’s car. I realize this vigil (and the others in this post) isn’t spot news. However, it is a followup to a spot news event so I felt it was appropriate to include.

Austin Ramos Jr. vigil

Aurora Perez (from left) and Toni Ruiz embrace as Sheri Perez cries Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, during a memorial vigil for Austin Ramos Jr. in Beloit, Wis. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

Austin Ramos Jr. vigil

Javier Amaro hugs Leslie Martinez on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, during a memorial vigil for Austin Ramos Jr. in Beloit, Wis. Amaro is Austin’s cousin and Leslie is his aunt. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

Austin Ramos Jr. vigil

Jennifer Widner, 4, holds a candle Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, during a memorial vigil for Austin Ramos Jr. in Beloit, Wis. Widner is one of Austin’s close friends. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

Austin Ramos Jr. vigil

Candle wax drips on Harriet Everette’s hand Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, during a memorial vigil for Austin Ramos Jr. in Beloit, Wis. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

Austin Ramos Jr. vigil

Alyssa Martinez (from left), Lesvia Tovar-Martinez and Virginia Coronado embrace Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, during a memorial vigil for Austin Ramos Jr. in Beloit, Wis. Alyssa is Austin’s sister, Lesvia is his grandmother and Virginia is his great aunt. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

Austin Ramos Jr. vigil

The Rev. Michael Ramsdail holds a lantern while speaking Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, during a memorial vigil for Austin Ramos Jr. in Beloit, Wis. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

Austin Ramos Jr. vigil

Harrie Everette lowers her head in prayer Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, during a memorial vigil for Austin Ramos Jr. in Beloit, Wis. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

More photos from the Austin Ramos Jr. vigil can be found on the Rockford Register Star website.

The next day, I went to the scene of a car chase and shooting that took place on the city’s west side.

rockton ave shooting

Rockford Police work the scene of a shooting Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, on North Rockton Avenue near Paradise Boulevard in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

rockton ave shooting

Bullet casings sit next to a car at the scene of a shooting Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, on North Rockton Avenue near Paradise Boulevard in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

rockton ave shooting

Karen Thomas talks about hearing gunshots Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, in the 1900 block of Midway Drive in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

rockton ave shooting

Rockford Police work the scene of a shooting Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, on North Rockton Avenue near Paradise Boulevard in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

A day later, I headed to a house fire. By the time I got on scene, it was pretty much out. An engine was involved in an accident on the way to the fire.

10th ave fire

Rockford firefighters carry a ventilation fan to the front door of a home while working a house fire Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016, at the corner of Tenth Avenue and 13th Street in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

The same day, there was a report of shots fired. I got to the scene as police were using a K-9 to track a suspect. The scene ended up at a local hospital where friends transported a gunshot victim.

shots fired

Winnebago County and and Rockford Police with a K9 unit search Liberty Drive after a report of shots fired Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016, in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

shots fired

Evidence markers sit on the porch of a taped off residence Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016, on the 3200 block of Blackstone Avenue in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

shots fired

Rockford Police search an SUV Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016, in front of Rockford Memorial Hospital. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

shots fired

An SUV is taped off by the front entrance of Rockford Memorial Hospital on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

shots fired

Rockford Police respond to a scene at Rockford Memorial Hospital on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

The month was capped off with another vigil, this time for Treesa Wiley, who was killed during a home invasion.

Treesa Wiley vigil

Mourners gather around Brenda Wiley, mother of the late Treesa Wiley, on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016, during a vigil for Treesa at the intersection of Carbaugh and Parkside avenues in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

Treesa Wiley vigil

Tyrone Wiley, cousin to the late Treesa Wiley, cries Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016, during a vigil for Treesa at the intersection of Carbaugh and Parkside avenues in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

Treesa Wiley vigil

Cara Bourrette, 7, listens as people speak about Treesa Wiley on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016, during a vigil at the intersection of Carbaugh and Parkside avenues in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

Treesa Wiley vigil

David Andrus stands up a picture Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016, before a vigil for Treesa Wiley at the intersection of Carbaugh and Parkside avenues in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

More photos from the Treesa Wiley vigil can be found on the Rockford Register Star website.

I was called in bright and early the next morning as a police force was building outside of a home where a man had barricaded himself inside after firing his weapon.

active shooter

SWAT team members approach a house Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, where a man was holed up after a firing a weapon early this morning in the 1100 block of Elm Street in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

active shooter

Interim Police Chief Pat Hoey and chaplain Kenneth Hendley talk with family members of a man who was holed up in a house Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, after a firing a weapon early this morning in the 1100 block of Elm Street in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

active shooter

Police Officers climb on the roof of Chuc-A-Luc’s Fish Market with rifles Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, near where a man was holed up after a firing a weapon early this morning in the 1100 block of Elm Street in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

active shooter

SWAT team members approach a house Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, where a man was holed up after a firing a weapon early this morning in the 1100 block of Elm Street in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

More photos from the standoff can be found on the Rockford Register Star website.

Two days later, I was called in early because of a fatal accident. A stolen car crashed into a tree after running from the police.

fatal crash

All lanes on Spring Creek Road are blocked as police work the scene of a fatal accident Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, east of Highcrest Road in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

fatal crash

All lanes on Spring Creek Road are blocked as police work the scene of a fatal accident Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, east of Highcrest Road in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

fatal crash

All lanes on Spring Creek Road are blocked as police work the scene of a fatal accident Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, east of Highcrest Road in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

Before I could make it back to the office that morning, I was sent to the Rock River where a car was spotted in the river. Divers went in to the water and eventually pulled a body from the car.

car in river

Emergency responders take a man to a waiting ambulance after pulling him from a submerged car in the Rock River on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, north of the Whitman Street bridge in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

car in river

A Chevrolet Cobalt is lifted from the Rock River on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, north of the Whitman Street bridge in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

car in river

A diver enters the Rock River on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, north of the Whitman Street bridge in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

car in river

Emergency responders take a man to a waiting ambulance after pulling him from a submerged car in the Rock River on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, north of the Whitman Street bridge in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

The next week brought about one of the worst crashes I’ve ever seen. A car that had been running from the police crashed into another vehicle splitting it in half. The debris field covered the entire roadway and beyond. The front half of the victim’s vehicle remained on the roadway while the back half rolled down the hill alongside the road. The car that was running from the police ended up in a field well beyond the crash site.

springfield fatal crash

Illinois State Police work the scene of a fatal accident Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, on South Springfield Avenue at Cunningham Road in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

springfield fatal crash

Emergency responders work with the Winnebago County Coroner’s office at the scene of a fatal accident Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, on South Springfield Avenue at Cunningham Road in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

springfield fatal crash

Emergency responders work the scene of a fatal accident Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, on South Springfield Avenue at Cunningham Road in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

springfield fatal crash

An Illinois State Trooper walks through debris-covered road at the scene of a fatal accident Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, on South Springfield Avenue at Cunningham Road in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

About a week later, there was another crash on the same road not far from where the fatal accident occurred. Two people were ejected from the car. Amazingly nobody died.

springfield crash

Emergency responders work the scene of an accident Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, at South Springfield Avenue and West State Street in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

Later that week, I was at a vigil for two local university students who were killed in a car crash.

RU memorial

Bryson Bailey, 18, buries his face in his hands Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016, after a memorial service for Desiree Wease and Demonte Wigfall at Rockford University’s Fisher Memorial Chapel. Bailey was roommates with Wigfall last semester. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

RU memorial

Lindsy Baugus lights a candle Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016, during a memorial service for Desiree Wease and Demonte Wigfall at Rockford University’s Fisher Memorial Chapel. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

RU memorial

Jaleel Ford buries his face in his hands Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016, during a memorial service for Desiree Wease and Demonte Wigfall at Rockford University’s Fisher Memorial Chapel. Ford is Wease’s cousin. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

RU memorial

Joi Pierre (left) and Allena Fleming talk about their classmates Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016, during a memorial service for Desiree Wease and Demonte Wigfall at Rockford University’s Fisher Memorial Chapel. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

The next week, a series of car thefts had me darting around following the police.

auto thefts

Police officers surround a home Monday, Feb. 22, 2016, at the corner of Cunningham and Sanford streets in Rockford after a string of auto thefts. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

auto thefts

An Illinois State Trooper with a K-9 searches Cunningham Street on Monday, Feb. 22, 2016, near Sanford Street in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

auto thefts

Police work the scene of a recovered stolen vehicle Monday, Feb. 22, 2016, at Levings Lake in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

auto thefts

Police enter a home on Cunningham Street on Monday, Feb. 22, 2016, after a string of auto thefts in Rockford. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

Two days later, I was at a house fire. The home was condemned and was on the city’s demolition list.

house fire

Flames shoot out of a home as Rockford firefighters work a blaze Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, in the 600 block of Ninth Street in Rockford. The house was condemned and on the city’s list to be torn down. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

house fire

Rockford firefighters work a house fire Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, in the 600 block of Ninth Street in Rockford. The house was condemned and on the city’s list to be torn down. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

house fire

Rockford firefighters work on the end of a ladder while fighting a house fire Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, in the 600 block of Ninth Street in Rockford. The house was condemned and on the city’s list to be torn down. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

house fire

Rockford firefighters work a house fire Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, in the 600 block of Ninth Street in Rockford. The house was condemned and on the city’s list to be torn down. MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM ©2016

More photos from the fire can be found on the Rockford Register Star website.

Time will tell if things are slowing down.

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