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.
The same day, there was an accident between a motorcycle and a semi truck.
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.
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.
The pickup truck was a mangled pile of metal.
While we were at the scene, we learned that the man pinned under the truck was still alive.
Emergency responders had to use a large tow truck to life the part of the garbage truck so they could cut around the man.
Once freed from the wreckage, the man was taken to a waiting medical helicopter.
We followed up with the families of those involved in the accident in January 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.
In December, there was a fatal shooting on the city’s west side.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The month was capped off with another vigil, this time for Treesa Wiley, who was killed during a home invasion.
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.
More photos from the standoff can be found on the Rockford Register Star website.
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.
Later that week, I was at a vigil for two local university students who were killed in a car crash.
The next week, a series of car thefts had me darting around following the police.
More photos from the fire can be found on the Rockford Register Star website.
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