Virginia I-95 shutdown: Local woman outraged over state's response

I-95 reopens in Virginia after winter storm strands passengers

FOX Weather’s Katie Byrne reports from Dale City on the conditions that closed a 50-mile stretch of road and left passengers stuck for 24 hours.

Interstate 95 in Virginia reopened Tuesday night after hundreds of drivers were stranded for hours, many of them spending the night after a snow storm struck the Washington, D.C., region Monday in a snowy gridlock. 

Yedda Stancil’s son missed his flight home out of Dulles International Airport due to bad weather, and she had to pay $1,000 for a one way flight out of Richmond International Airport, she told Fox News Digital.

Stancil took to Facebook after the normally 40-minute drive turned into 3 hours. 

“Cars were stuck, women were going to the bathroom out in the open,” she said. “Children were crying and vehicles were stuck everywhere. The entire drive home, 95 north was at a stop.”

Stancil said that she and her son “drove 21 miles at a crawl with other cars and not one plow was seen. It took 3 hours to drive 21 miles! Once we could get back on 95 we were at a stand still. The exit for Route 17 was a half mile up, so we pushed through the snow on the emergency lane to reach it and turned around to head back south.” 

She and her son got lucky saying that they were the last car to get to the exit before “total gridlock and panic set in” for those stranded through the night on Interstate 95. 

Like Stancil, many drivers remain frustrated at Gov. Ralph Northam and the Virginia Department of Transportation for failing to prepare the roads for snow.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam listens to a reporter’s question during a press briefing inside the Patrick Henry Building in Richmond, Va. (Bob Brown/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)

In an interview with WRVA’s Matt Demlein, Northam blamed the slow response time on drivers out on the road.

“I would also say, we knew that this storm was coming,” he said. “We put warnings out. Why don’t you start asking some of these individuals that were out on the highway for hours one, did you know about this storm, two, why did you feel it was so important to drive through such a snow storm, and three, in hindsight, do you think maybe you should have stayed home or wherever you were rather than getting out on Interstate 95? I think that would be interesting, to hear that side of it.”

(Virginia Department of Transportation via AP)

While officers had not put an exact number of the drivers on the road at the time, photos from the scene depicted hundreds of unmoving cars and trucks. Many drivers, like Stancil and her son, are relieved to be back in the comfort of their homes. 

One of them is sitting U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, of Virginia, who tweeted Tuesday that it took him 27 hours to make the 110 mile drive from Richmond to Washington.

Fox News’ Lindsay Kornick contributed to this report.

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