A brutal April snowstorm that pummeled Nebraska and other Midwestern states led to impassable road conditions along Interstate 80 in western Nebraska, trapping more than 100 cars along the highway.
A Fox News report said authorities had to dispatch school buses to rescue the many motorists trapped when blizzard conditions struck Friday.
The Nebraska State Patrol coordinated the rescue effort, which involved buses from the Sidney Public Schools district that were escorted by plows and patrol cars to rescue stranded drivers, according to a news release.
Troopers and public safety partners rescued more than 100 stranded motorists from two major backups on I-80 near Sidney yesterday.
Thanks to @Sidney_Raiders for bringing buses to help out!
— Nebraska State Patrol (@NEStatePatrol) April 14, 2018
No hitchhiking…. ps big 4×4 didn’t do work any better than little 4x4s. pic.twitter.com/joKp8rvK6m
— NSP Troop C (@NSP_TroopC) April 14, 2018
After police went from vehicle to vehicle to rescue those who were stranded, the buses took travelers to the Light Memorial Presbyterian Church in Sidney or a hotel.
Friday’s blizzard claimed the life of one man involved in an accident along I-80.
I80 near Sidney, NE pix from TT Amandeep..interstate is shut down for most of the state pic.twitter.com/vzJHJJcMVE
— U.S. Truck Drivers (@TruckDriversUSA) April 14, 2018
The blizzard continued to pound the state Saturday, leading to an emergency disaster declaration from Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, according to the Omaha World-Herald.
“Hundreds of motorists have been stranded, and power outages are reported in many communities,” Ricketts said in a written statement. “This declaration allows state funds from the Governor’s Emergency Fund to help our communities in their response.”
— Steve S (@armylifer35) April 15, 2018
Sidney City Manager Ed Sadler estimated that more than 1,000 semi-trailer trucks were forced to stop in Sidney on Friday night, leading to overflow conditions at truck stops and parking lots.
“We just started stacking them up,” he said. “That’s just what happens in Sidney when the interstate shuts down.”
For those stranded on I-80, Friday went from a routine trip to chaos in only a few moments.
“It went from flurries to whiteout in, like, five minutes,” said 62-year-old Sue Ketzler of Omaha, who had been en route to Laramie, Wyoming, and was four miles from Sidney when the worst of the storm struck. She pulled off the road as other vehicles slid on the highway.
Ketzler said she and her 19-year-old daughter spent eight hours in the car with only a bottle of water, a book and some games before they were rescued. They resumed their journey on Saturday
“It was an ordeal, for sure,” Ketzler said. “I’m just glad we are OK and our car is OK.”
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