Hundreds of drivers stranded in Virginia after pummeled by snowstorm

‘People are going to die’: Furious drivers snowed-in on Virginia’s I-95 for more than 20 HOURS demand Gov. Northam speed up rescue efforts as they run out of gas and water – and call DoorDash for food!

  • Hundreds of motorists have been stuck in the snow for more than 19 hours along a 50-mile stretch of Interstate 95 in Virginia after a crash involving six tractor-trailers
  • Travelers grew furious as their woes weren’t answered and emergency personnel were not coming to their rescue and Governor Ralph Northam tweeted: ‘Sunlight is expected to help @VaDOT clear the road’
  • ‘We have to find a way to get national guard here. Diabetics and babies down here.

    People are going die here,’ a friend told NBC’s Jim Scarborough, who tweeted the quote in a plea to get people rescued faster 

  • Former VP candidate and Virginia State Senator Tim Kaine revealed that he is one of the people stuck in the snowy pile-up in a tweet early Tuesday
  • ‘I started my normal 2 hour drive to DC at 1pm yesterday.

    19 hours later, I’m still not near the Capitol,’ he wrote 

  • The VDOT announced that I-95 ‘is closed northbound and southbound from exit 152 (Dumfries Road) to exit 104 (Carmel Church) as crews continue work to remove stopped trucks, treat for icing, and plow snow’ 
  • The snowstorm piled 7 to 11 inches of snow on the US East Coast’s main north-south highway 
  • Compounding the challenges, traffic cameras went offline as much of central Virginia lost power in the storm 
  • On Tuesday morning, authorities were still struggling to reach those involved in the crash and the Virginia State Police had already responded to more than 2,000 calls for service

By Shannon Thaler For Dailymail.Com

Published: 13:21, 4 January 2022 | Updated: 18:26, 4 January 2022

Furious drivers stranded on I-95 in Virginia for more than 20 hours without gas, food and water are demanding that Governor Ralph Northam speed up rescue efforts as they resort to calling DoorDash in a dire effort to get food.

The snowy pile-up between Dumfries Road, which is nearly an hour to Washington, DC, and Carmel Church, only 8mi from the Capitol, began after a six-vehicle crash in Stafford Monday. Since then, the 50-mile stretch of highway south of DC was blanketed in nearly a foot of snow and ice as temperatures dipped to the teens overnight. 

The road became impassable when six tractor-trailers jackknifed in the winter storm and triggered a chain reaction Monday as other vehicles lost control and blocked lanes in both directions of I-95.

It wasn’t until around noon on Tuesday that the temperature reached above freezing and the icy conditions began to melt away. However, hundreds of travelers were still in urgent need of emergency personnel.  

‘We have to find a way to get national guard here.

Diabetics and babies down here. People are going die here,’ a friend told NBC’s Jim Scarborough, who tweeted the quote in a plea to get people rescued faster.

Jim DeFede, who has been stuck on the interstate just south of Quantico for the past 24 hours, called I-95 ‘a complete parking lot’ and was growing angry as his woes weren’t answered and emergency personnel were not coming to his rescue.

‘I don’t know who’s in charge but somebody better do something because there are cars and families just trapped here this entire time and nobody seems to be coming.

‘I haven’t seen a state trooper in at least 12 hours. I haven’t seen a tow truck in at least 14 hours,’ DeFede said in a video posted to Twitter. 

Meanwhile, it appeared as though Northam was hoping the sun would help melt the snow and clear traffic. ‘Sunlight is expected to help @VaDOT clear the road,’ he said on Twitter.

But DeFede said that as of this morning, the road was still covered in ice. 

The governor said he could not provide an estimate for when I-95 would reopen or how many vehicles remained stranded.

Transportation Department engineer Marcie Parker said the agency expected to finish clearing the interstate by Tuesday night and that it should be open for the Wednesday morning rush hour. 

Hundreds of drivers stranded in Virginia after pummeled by snowstorm

People, including former VP candidate and Virginia State Senator Tim Kaine, grew worried as they approached nearly a full 24 hours stuck in their car without food and water

Hundreds of drivers stranded in Virginia after pummeled by snowstorm

The snowy pile-up between Dumfries Road, which is nearly an hour to Washington, DC, and Carmel Church, only 8mi from the Capitol, began after a six-vehicle crash in Stafford

Hundreds of drivers stranded in Virginia after pummeled by snowstorm

The snowstorm dumped nearly a foot of snow onto the roads, causing drivers to get stuck without food, water and gas for more than 19 hours and counting

Hundreds of drivers stranded in Virginia after pummeled by snowstorm

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) confirmed both directions of I-95 remained shut down between Ruther Glen, Virginia, in Caroline County and exit 152 in Dumfries, Prince William County, as of Tuesday morning

Hundreds of drivers stranded in Virginia after pummeled by snowstorm

Hundreds of motorists have been stuck in the snow for more than 15 hours along a 50-mile stretch of Interstate 95 in Virginia after a crash involving six tractor-trailers, authorities said, during a snowstorm that piled 7 to 11 inches of snow on the US East Coast’s main north-south highway

Hundreds of drivers stranded in Virginia after pummeled by snowstorm

As of 3.30pm Monday, Virginia State Police had responded to more than 2,000 calls for service due to treacherous road conditions

Hundreds of drivers stranded in Virginia after pummeled by snowstorm

The roads were covered with a sheet of ice as temperatures dipped into the teens and twenties overnight

Hundreds of drivers stranded in Virginia after pummeled by snowstorm

As of Tuesday morning, hundreds of trucks were still seen piled up bumper-to-bumper along I-95

At 10am, while still sitting in the same spot on I-95 near Quantico, posted an update saying that he received a notification from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) saying ‘state locals coming ASAP with supplies and to move you’.

‘I am not reassured by this message,’ DeFede said as the governor failed to post an update after his misleading 8am tweet saying ‘state and local emergency personnel are continuing to clear downed trees, assist disabled vehicles, and re-route drivers’.

Virginia State Senator Tim Kaine was also one of the hundreds of travelers stuck along a 50-mile stretch of Interstate 95 after a snowstorm dumped at least 11 inches of snow on the road and a crash involving six tractor-trailers.

Kaine revealed that he is one of the people stuck in the snowy pile-up in a tweet early Tuesday that read: ‘I started my normal 2 hour drive to DC at 1pm yesterday.

19 hours later, I’m still not near the Capitol.’

He later reassured: ‘I’m frustrated, but not in serious trouble.’ 

Dozens of others spoke out, saying they were hungry and cold without the proper supplies while expressing their frustrations that the National Guard was not being deployed to help them.

Northam had said that he opted not to request National Guard help because the issue facing state crews was not a lack of manpower but the difficulty of getting workers and equipment through the snow and ice to where they needed to be. He said that effort was complicated by disabled vehicles, freezing temperatures and ice, according to AP.

Heavy rain that preceded the storm made it difficult to pretreat roads, and conditions began to deteriorate around midnight, the governor added. 

One user called the event a ‘complete and utter failure of government infrastructure and support,’ adding that excuses of lacking resources doesn’t make sense ‘when they are funded by literal TRILLIONS of dollars and have every sort of vehicle and machine to traverse all matters of terrain’.

Another appeared desperate as they tweeted: ‘How can you continue to leave those people stranded in such cold weather?! Where is your national guard?

Where is your emergency response unit? People are gonna die!’

Arlin Tellez, 22, told The New York Times that she was traveling from Charlotte, North Carolina, when she got stranded 80miles south of DC since 5pm Monday without food or water.

Tellez was driving home from school with a friend and said that they were layering clothes they packed to stay warm.

‘Honestly, it’s been so horrible,’ she said, adding that information from the police was not reaching the drivers. ‘There’s just no way for us to know what’s actually happening,’ she told The Times. 

Horror stories from I-95: People growing desperate without food, water, gas and phone battery 

A family from Sterling, Virginia, told CNN that they are in dire need of a bathroom – not to mention food and water – after being stuck on I-95 for hours. 

On Monday Jennifer Travis, her husband and their 12-year-old daughter rented a car to drive home from their family vacation after their flight was cancelled – twice. 

Travis rented the car for £600 and expected to be home by 4am Tuesday after making the 12-hour and 20-minute drive up the east coast from Orlando, Florida, to her home in Virginia.

Luckily, the family-of-three is safe and still has a three-quarter tank of gas, but they are hungry and are in desperate need for a bathroom.

Travis told DailyMail.com that as of Tuesday afternoon, the roads were still ‘jammed,’ and so much so that emergency vehicles can’t even get through.

She added: ‘We were able to finally get off the 95 however the surrounding roads are now jammed and not moving. 

‘My family and I are trying to drive west so we can get away from the chaos but even roads like Rt 17 that feed off of I-95 are closed which is causing another back up.’ 

The mother also noted that no has has done welfare checks or helped distribute food, water or gas. 

‘My daughter is over it,’ Travis told CNN, noting that ‘she was scared when it was dark. Now it’s light she is calming down’.

She has since been sharing updates via Twitter, where she tweeted: ‘I haven’t seen @VaDOT but a fire and rescue team is walking the highway now.’ 

Hundreds of drivers stranded in Virginia after pummeled by snowstorm

Travis pictured a fire and rescue team on the road Tuesday morning but said there was still no sign of the DOT

Isaac Arcos was stranded northbound on I-95 for about seven hours as his phone was dying and his car was running out of gas.

As of Tuesday morning, after being stuck about two miles away from Exit 110 for hours, his car only had 34 miles worth of gas left in the tank.

His phone was also drained down to 13% battery. 

Arcos was driving from Winston Salem, North Carolina, to the Quantico Marine base, which he was expecting to arrive at about midnight. 

He told CNN that he has warm clothes but doesn’t have any food or water.

Journalist Jim DeFede has been stuck on the I-95 ‘just south of Quantico’ for 24 hours and said in a Twitter video that ‘there is absolutely no sign that this is going to change anytime soon,’ despite a notification he got on his phone saying help is on the way.

In an update posted an hour later, a hungry DeFede – who has now gone a full day without food – filmed a Good Samaritan handing him a loaf of bread.

The Good Samaritan, who had been sitting behind a Schmidt Baking Company truck with his wife for hours on end, decided to contact the food company.

‘The owner of the truck told the driver to open it up and start handing out food to people,’ the unidentified man said in the video. 

NBC correspondent Josh Lederman reported on Tuesday morning that he was stuck on the highway overnight with his dog.

He said that traffic came to a halt around 8pm near Stafford on Monday night during his trip back to DC and he hadn’t moved much since then, nor had he seen any emergency vehicles.

‘Once it got to be 9pm or 10pm, I realized we were going to be here all night long,’ he told Hoda Kotb on a Today segment Tuesday morning, and added that he has been eating the few granola bars and pack of gum he luckily had in his car. 

‘We started to see a lot of drivers turning their cars off to conserve gas, people running out of food and water, kids and pets holed up for so many hours, people letting their pets out of the car to try to walk them on the street,’ Lederman added, noting that he was worried there would be a medical emergency if someone ran out of gas in the 26-degree weather. 

Hundreds of drivers stranded in Virginia after pummeled by snowstorm Hundreds of drivers stranded in Virginia after pummeled by snowstorm

NBC correspondent Josh Lederman reported on Tuesday morning that he was stuck on the highway overnight with his dog and tweeted updates

Meera Rao and her husband, Raghavendra, were driving home from visiting their daughter in North Carolina when they got stuck Monday evening.

They were only 100 feet past an exit but could not move for roughly 16 hours.

‘Not one police (officer) came in the 16 hours we were stuck,’ she said, according to AP. 

Rao added that they stopped their car engine at least 30 times to conserve gas and ran the heat just enough to get warm. They also had some potato chips, nuts and apples to eat, but Rao did not want to drink any bottled water because she had a sprained ankle and did not think she could reach a makeshift restroom.

‘No one came. It was just shocking.

Being in the most advanced country in the world, no one knew how to even clear one lane for all of us to get out of that mess?’ 

Rao told The Times that she had even checked the travel conditions before leaving their home and had seen no warnings. 

And after what seemed like a never-ending stay in their car, a tow truck driver appeared and cleared away snow, allowing the Raos and a couple of other cars back up and take the exit.

‘He was a messenger from God,’ Rao said. ‘I literally was in tears.’ 

Meanwhile, Maryland resident Darryl Walter was stuck for 10 hours as he drove home from a Florida beach vacation with his wife, son and dog Brisket, although he was one of the lucky ones and made it back to his home on Tuesday.

Walter recalled that the worst part of the ordeal was not knowing how long it would last. ‘We didn’t see plows out there. Snow removal has always been a joke in this area,’ he told AP.

For roughly five of those hours, he even turned off the car until northbound traffic started crawling again.

The family had a few bottles of water, some bags of chips, a blanket for warmth and Trivial Pursuit to pass the time.

And when traffic finally started moving on the northbound side of the highway, the Walters passed a long line of southbound cars that were unable to get past jack-knifed trucks. ‘It had to be 15 miles of backup,’ Walter said.

Hundreds of drivers stranded in Virginia after pummeled by snowstorm

People traveling with pets got out of the car to walk their dogs after spending hours in the car

Hundreds of drivers stranded in Virginia after pummeled by snowstorm

Drivers on the north- and southbound sides of I-95 were seen stranded in traffic in a aerial picture of the highway 

Hundreds of drivers stranded in Virginia after pummeled by snowstorm

Drivers were even attempting to order DoorDash to their vehicles in a dire effort to get food and water 

Hundreds of drivers stranded in Virginia after pummeled by snowstorm

Road conditions were icy as temperatures dipped into the teens and twenties overnight

Hundreds of drivers stranded in Virginia after pummeled by snowstorm

A southbound entrance to I-95 was closed as of Monday morning  

Hundreds of drivers stranded in Virginia after pummeled by snowstorm

Roads were still closed as of Tuesday morning as state police struggled to clear the traffic

Hundreds of drivers stranded in Virginia after pummeled by snowstorm

Drivers remained stranded on the I-95 for 20 hours and counting

Hundreds of drivers stranded in Virginia after pummeled by snowstorm Hundreds of drivers stranded in Virginia after pummeled by snowstorm

Dozens of others spoke out, saying they were hungry and cold without the proper supplies while expressing their frustrations that the National Guard was not being deployed to help them

Traffic reached a standstill Monday afternoon following a tractor-trailer collision on the US East Coast’s main north-south highway – and it became impossible to move as nearly a foot of snow and ice accumulated with temperatures dipping into the teens and twenties. 

Northam later tweeted that the state police, Department of Transportation (DOT) and Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) have ‘been working throughout the night’ although it did not seem that much progress had been made.

‘State and local emergency personnel are continuing to clear downed trees, assist disabled vehicles, and re-route drivers,’ the tweet read. 

In a previous tweet, Northam wrote: ‘An emergency message is going to all stranded drivers connecting them to support, and the state is working with localities to open warming shelters as needed.’  

But on Tuesday morning, authorities were still struggling to reach those involved in the crash and the VDOT announced in a statement that I-95 ‘is closed northbound and southbound from exit 152 (Dumfries Road) to exit 104 (Carmel Church) as crews continue work to remove stopped trucks, treat for icing, and plow snow’.

By noon, temperatures are expected to rise above freezing and assist in the rescue – although they are set to drop back into the twenties by 6pm, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch

The VDOT confirmed both directions of I-95 remained shut down between Ruther Glen, Virginia, in Caroline County and exit 152 in Dumfries, Prince William County, as of Tuesday morning. 

‘Crews will start taking people off at any available interchange to get them – for the southbound queue 143 (Garrisonville) and 140 (Courthouse) and northbound at exit 104 and exit 110. NB is 104 (Carmel Church) and 110 is Ladysmith,’ the VDOT tweeted at 5.20am Tuesday.   

Hundreds of drivers stranded in Virginia after pummeled by snowstorm

Travelers stuck in the snow grew furious as their woes weren’t answered and emergency personnel were not coming to their rescue

Hundreds of drivers stranded in Virginia after pummeled by snowstorm

Trucks were still piled up along a 50-mile stretch of the I-95 as of Tuesday morning 

Hundreds of drivers stranded in Virginia after pummeled by snowstorm

People were seen getting out of their car to stretch their legs after being stranded in their cars overnight

Hundreds of drivers stranded in Virginia after pummeled by snowstorm

About 20-to-30 trucks were still stuck on I-95 northbound near the Thornburg exit, which is between Richmond and Washington, DC, the VDOT said

Hundreds of drivers stranded in Virginia after pummeled by snowstorm

Compounding the challenges, traffic cameras went offline as much of central Virginia lost power in the storm

Hundreds of drivers stranded in Virginia after pummeled by snowstorm

In the Fredericksburg area, some of the drivers who were stranded on Monday by the severe weather conditions still reported that they were stuck as of sunrise on Tuesday – some due to disabled trucks

Hundreds of drivers stranded in Virginia after pummeled by snowstorm

More than 400,000 customers remained without electricity on Tuesday as travelers remained stranded on I-95

Hundreds of drivers stranded in Virginia after pummeled by snowstorm

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said that the state police, Department of Transportation (DOT) and Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) have ‘been working throughout the night’

Hundreds of drivers stranded in Virginia after pummeled by snowstorm

As drivers ran of out food and water on the roads, more than 400,000 customers remained without electricity off the roads

Hundreds of drivers stranded in Virginia after pummeled by snowstorm

Motorists sat stranded on the northbound side of the highway near Fredericksburg

Josh Lederman, who has been stranded in his car for the past 10 hours on I-95 near Stafford, told Today: ‘We started to see a lot of drivers turning their car off to conserve gas. 

‘People running out of food and water, kids and pets holed up for so many hours. People letting their pets out of their cars to try to walk them on the street, and in the meantime, no signs of any emergency vehicles.’   

Meanwhile, thousands of accidents and stranded vehicles were reported throughout central and northern Virginia.

As of 3.30pm Monday, Virginia State Police had responded to more than 2,000 calls for service due to treacherous road conditions, The Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg reported. 

In the Fredericksburg area, some of the drivers who were stranded on Monday by the severe weather conditions still reported that they were stuck as of sunrise on Tuesday – some due to disabled trucks – the VDOT said.

Around 6.15am Tuesday, Former State Department Senior Advisor Susan Phalen, with her four dogs, told CNN she has been stuck in her car just south of Stafford since 8pm the night before.

She left her house in Fredericksburg for an hour-long trip but is now stranded 30 minutes from her home.

In the Fredericksburg area, some of the drivers who were stranded on Monday by the severe weather conditions still reported that they were stuck as of sunrise on Tuesday – some due to disabled trucks – the VDOT said. 

Around 6.15am Tuesday, Former State Department Senior Advisor Susan Phalen, with her four dogs, told CNN she has been stuck in her car just south of Stafford since 8pm the night before.

She left her house in Fredericksburg for an hour-long trip but is now stranded 30 minutes from her home. 

Compounding the challenges, traffic cameras went offline as much of central Virginia lost power in the storm, the VDOT said, after noting that about 20-to-30 trucks were still stuck on I-95 northbound near the Thornburg exit, which is between Richmond and Washington, DC.

The department said towing crews were on the scene.

Off the roads, more than 400,000 customers remained without electricity on Tuesday, CNN reported.