‘The situation has not improved’

By 1 pm on Tuesday afternoon, the morale of Jennifer Travis, her husband, and their 12-year-old daughter had plummeted.

They only drank half a bottle of water and no snacks. Their last meal was at Denny’s at 7pm on Monday night. They didn’t sleep and got dressed to welcome sunny Florida, instead of the cold blizzard of Virginia that kept them in the rented Chevrolet Tahoe for more than 18 hours.

When the 42-year-old Travis was sitting on U.S. Highway 17 in a traffic jam near Fredericksburg, her voice choked and said, “It’s getting harder and harder because it’s not getting better.” “They Keep saying that help is coming. But it won’t come. No one is directing traffic. No one says at the traffic lights, “Well, you go, go, go, go, go. “Now everyone is for themselves. This is terrible.”

Travis and her family Is one of hundreds of drivers On Tuesday, after a winter storm disrupted traffic and kept some drivers stranded on the impassable Interstate 95 south of the country’s capital for nearly 24 hours, he desperately waited for rescue. Even after motorists fled I-95, many people like Travis were trapped on the side road for several hours.

The state police stated that a truck crashed on I-95 on Monday morning, triggering a rapid chain reaction as other vehicles lost control. A 40-mile (64-kilometer) stretch of interstate highway along the east coast of the main North-South highway, lanes in both directions were blocked. As time passed and night fell, motorists posted messages on social media about running out of fuel, food, and water.

“I haven’t eaten breakfast yet,” Travis said Tuesday afternoon. “I haven’t eaten lunch yet. I have a 12-year-old girl who is growing up without a snack. I’m sure she is starving to death.”

The family vacationed in Florida and went to Universal Studios Orlando to celebrate the New Year. Their flight home was cancelled on Sunday and Monday. So they rented Tahoe and planned to drive straight back to Sterling in Northern Virginia, where Travis owns a marketing company.

The drive for about 11 hours went smoothly. But in Virginia, traffic on Interstate 95 near Stafford began to recover. They decided to take the parallel U.S. Highway 1.

Then, for some reason, Travis said that Google Maps rerouted them back to I-95, which seemed clear.

“Within 10 to 15 minutes, we had a traffic jam,” Travis said. “It’s just a mountain of cars.”

In the next few hours, the family rested outside for a while, and Travis said the temperature dropped to 19 degrees. They opened and closed Tahoe and smashed windows, trying not to inhale too much carbon monoxide. They played Harry Potter Trivia, Marvel Trivia, and tried to stay calm. But they are getting frustrated.

“The only time we saw any official was the fire and rescue personnel,” Travis said. “But I just think they tried to find someone because they didn’t walk up to the car and ask if we were okay. We have never seen a police car. We have never seen a state police.”

Travis finally saw a message from Governor Ralph Northam on Twitter saying that rescue was imminent.

“No one helps us,” Travis said. “We are trapped, how do you plan to let people find us?”

From about 1:30 AM to about 9 AM, the family was at a standstill on I-95

“Finally the plowmen came out and they were stuck on the road with us because they couldn’t get around all the broken cars,” Travis said. “Then other cars will appear behind the plow cart so that they can follow.”

After escaping I-95, the family quickly fell into trouble again, this time on Route 17.

Travis said: “They basically dragged all these cars off the highway, and now all the roads are full.” “The roads have not been plowed. The tree fell, the wire fell. The car skidded. “

Travis added: “Why are the roads not salted? (Governor Northam) knows that a blizzard is coming. You know that Virginia has not performed well in history. You have 15 days in the office, and then you go out. . You are still responsible to your voters.”

While waiting, Travis discussed with the car rental company the issue of having to pay for another day. She coordinated with the dog sitter at home to feed their elderly cats and take care of their snakes, which requires different types of light throughout the day.

One of their dogs, a Rhodesian Ridgeback named Finn, has separation anxiety.

“And I know that when he sees me, we will be tightly connected within a week,” Travis said.

Eventually, the cars on Highway 17 started to move. The family opened up a road to the north and “risked the calculated risk in the back road.”

Travis said: “I said there are about 1,000 Wanfu Marys because there are too many trees hanging on the wires.”

They stopped at the fire station to use the restroom for the first time and got some better driving directions. By 3:30 in the afternoon, they were still more than an hour away from home.

They have not eaten yet.

“I have seen cows. I have seen horses. There is no grocery store yet,” Travis said. “We just want to drive home as fast and as safely as possible, and then have something to eat.”

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