HERO workers brave elements to keep motorist going

by: Erin Coleman Updated:

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ATLANTA - HERO workers have been out braving the cold for the past 48 hours helping stranded drivers on the interstates.

Channel 2's Erin Coleman tagged along with them Wednesday as they came to the rescue over and over again.

Whether it's a woman having chest pains on Interstate 85 with her two children in the car or a tire blowout on Interstate 75, Vernon Adger said he has seen it all in his nearly 20 years as a HERO driver.

"Suddenly I heard a pop and signal on my dashboard came on to let me know there's a flat," said driver Suchita Kundapur

AAA told Kundapur they were slammed with calls and she could be waiting up to three hours. Then Adger pulled up.

"Very welcome sight to see him," Kundapur said.

At any given time there are about 25 or so HERO units on the road and Tuesday, at the peak of our deep freeze, they responded to thousands of stranded motorists.

"I had 23 calls yesterday," Adger said.

And the most by far, were for cars with not enough antifreeze.

"The water was froze up in their radiator and cut off their engine," Adger said.

"It doesn't matter what the weather is, they're out in it," said Georgia DOT's Mark McKinnon.

He said the HERO units are rolling 24/7, 365 days a year.

"(Interstates) 285, 75, 85 and I-20, all in the Atlanta area they've got a lot of work to do," said McKinnon

On Wednesday, Tyler Tomy's tank ran dry on I-85 and he needed a jump

"I thought I had enough gas to get to work and then pay for the gas out there because it's going to be a little bit cheaper. Obviously I was not good at gauging that," Tomy said.

He'd been waiting in the cold for 45 minutes until the HERO unit showed up.

HERO workers told Coleman that if you end up breaking down on the interstate, if you can, always try to get to a safe place off the interstate to avoid getting hurt.



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