Drivers forced to sleep in cars after hours-long backup on I-95

Virginia News

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Cars were stranded on Interstate 95 Monday night, leaving drivers and passengers with nowhere to go, forcing many of them to sleep in their cars overnight.

Traffic backed up for more than 40 miles in the Fredericksburg area as crews worked to clear roadways from Monday’s winter storm.

One of those drivers, Marvin Romero, was traveling from vacation in Florida back home to New York when he noticed traffic starting to slow down around 3 p.m. Monday afternoon.

“I didn’t think anything of it,” Romero told 8News. “I expected normal traffic – a couple hours. 3 hours, 4 hours max.”

Hours later, Romero was still stranded.

“Time just kept creeping up,” he said. “Next thing you know, it’s already one or two in the morning and just wondering what’s going on. A lot of people felt like they just left us out there.”

Romero said there was a two hour walk to the nearest hotel, and an hour walk to the nearest gas station. With no choice, Romero spent the night in his car with his two daughters.

“I turned my car off after a certain time to go to sleep,” he said. “We woke up in a cold car. I turned my car on as soon as I got up to warm up my girls. We had blankets on top of us, but you still feel that cold.”

Twitter User “LadyTruckerT” documented her long wait on I-95 amidst icy conditions Tuesday.

It was a similar situation for Jeremy Jones who said he was trying to get home to Fredericksburg from Washington D.C. Monday night.

“I sat there until midnight until about 10:00,” he told 8News.

Romero said he was able to hand out water bottles to neighboring drivers, and had some snacks to hold his family over.

“I knew there was a snowstorm coming,” he explained. “I just didn’t think any of these states wouldn’t be prepared it. I didn’t think a state would just leave on us on the highway. We just had peanuts. Thankfully, I had water in my trunk.”

VDOT anticipates the road to be clear in time for Wednesday morning’s rush hour.

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