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Snow buries Fruitdale, but market welcomes travelers
Updated on: 12.26.12

Editor's note: Brown County Democrat reporter Kevin Lilly trekked out on foot to get this story, from the Fruitdale Market, today. More snow stories will be reported in the Jan. 2 paper (delivered Dec. 31).

FRUITDALE – Jimmy Fox, the guy behind the counter at Fruitdale Market, offered folks who braved the unplowed roads a hot, caffeinated beverage free of charge.

“I mean, I’m not going to sell it,” he told customer Joe Matthew. “I might as well give it away.”

Matthew and Fox were among the few residents of northern Brown County who fired up their vehicles and drove to work Wednesday, as the cold wind blew snow sideways into waves of white.

Not everyone made their intended destination.

The bottom of the first hill from State Road 135 North on Three Story Hill Road collected a tow truck and car before noon. The tow truck, out of Martinsville, eventually got free, with the help of at least two passing motorists driving 4X4 trucks. But it could not move the car, which partially blocked the road.

On farther west, a Jeep sat sideways off the south side of the road. Marks in the deep, unplowed snow showed the Jeep had spun 180 degrees before coming to a rest.

To prevent further use of the road, a Brown County sheriff’s deputy ran yellow caution tape across the aptly named Three Story Hill at the highway entrance. The tape remained in place until a Brown County Highway Department plow truck blazed a path through the deep snow at about 1 p.m.

Fox said he made the two-mile drive from home to work with only the occasional spinning tire. That was at about 4:30 a.m. Less than two hours later, the skies poured snow. By noon, about 12 inches blanketed northern Brown County, like much of southern Indiana, according to numerous reports from Indiana State Police.

At about 10:30 a.m., the agency issued a snow emergency, which limited travel to only emergencies and public safety personnel.

Matthew said he had no choice but to travel. He had several driveways to plow and people to help. His truck with plow out front rolled on oversized tires and blasted through the snow. Instead of riding the brakes, he used the manual transmission to slow the truck while going downhill.

“Once I’m moving, I’m fine,” Matthew said.

Lori Williams of Lori's Ton O Fun Daycare in Fruitdale opened Wednesday morning at 5:45 a.m. as usual and got breakfast ready for the children, but no one showed up. She waited until 9:30 a.m. to go home.

Before deciding to close, she put her truck in four-wheel drive and crept down 135 to Fruitdale Market for a second cup of coffee. Just before pulling into the gas station, she realized she had been going south in the northbound lane.

“I couldn’t see,” she said. “It was just total whiteout.”

Fox contemplated the possibility of spending the night inside the store like he did during the last major ice storm. He had not seen an Indiana Department of Transportation plow truck for several hours, and wind had blown large amounts of snow back into the travel lanes.

“I’ll be here as long as I can,” he said. “I may be here ‘til dark. I don’t know.”

More than one customer, including a family member, offered to drive Fox home. With a number of 4X4 offers, he figured he would sleep in his own bed Wednesday night rather than among the coolers of drinks and shelves of canned goods and toiletries.

By Wednesday evening, authorities reported road conditions were improving, but still cautioned people about driving on the “slick and hazardous” roads.

Throughout the Three Story Hill neighborhood, a few people deployed shovels, snowblowers and plows to clear snow from sidewalks, driveways and vehicles, but the most common sound was wind howling through the trees.

-- Kevin Lilly, Brown County Democrat

See Full List »

Josephine Lee Cueto, 62, Morgantown
  Daughter of Priscilla Burgmeier of Nashville

Mary 'Jane' Kollman, 92, Nashville
  Mother of Janet (Tom) Gaskins of Nashville

Charlotte K. (Adkins) Wilson, 67, Franklin
  Former resident of Brown County

  • November 23
    Annual community-wide hymn sing planned
    6:30 p.m. Nashville Christian Church, 160 S. Van Buren St.
  • November 23
    Nashville Reserve Officers host chili cook-off
    10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nashville P.D., 200 Hawthorne Drive
  • November 25
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • November 25
    Open 12-step meetings in New Bellsville area
    6 to 7 p.m. Harmony Baptist Church, 3999 Mt. Liberty Road, New Bellesville
  • November 26
    Go Club meeting Wednesday at coffee/tea shop
    3 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • November 26
    BC Sheriff's Merit Board
    4 p.m. Sheriff's Office, Law Enforcement Center, 55 State Road 46 East
  • November 28
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • November 29
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • November 29
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park
  • December 2
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • December 3
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • December 4
    Go Club at the library Thursdays
    3:30 to 5 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • December 12
    Widowed group plans Christmas party
    noon Salt Creek Golf Retreat, 2359 State Road 46 East
  • December 12
    BCSP Christmas bird count slated
    8 a.m. BCSP Nature Center, 1810 State Road 46 East
  • December 13
    Free community breakfast at Sprunica church
    8 to 10 a.m. Sprunica Baptist Church, 3902 Sprunica Road