Thousands of drivers stranded on Ark. interstates - Tucson News Now

Thousands of drivers stranded on Ark. interstates

Part of I-55 southbound was shut down early Tuesday morning due to multiple accidents involving tractor-trailers. Part of I-55 southbound was shut down early Tuesday morning due to multiple accidents involving tractor-trailers.
Keri and Chris Tuttle of Memphis were stuck on I-55 for more than 20 hours. Keri and Chris Tuttle of Memphis were stuck on I-55 for more than 20 hours.
Bagley's car in St. Louis is surrounded by snow and ice. Her family back in Memphis is helping her keep track of the roads. Bagley's car in St. Louis is surrounded by snow and ice. Her family back in Memphis is helping her keep track of the roads.
Metzelaas and several other truckers later were found in Coahoma County, Mississippi where they went a couple hours out of the way to avoid the mess. Metzelaas and several other truckers later were found in Coahoma County, Mississippi where they went a couple hours out of the way to avoid the mess.
Drivers are still stranded on the southbound lanes of Interstate 55 and on both sides of Interstate 40 in Arkansas. Drivers are still stranded on the southbound lanes of Interstate 55 and on both sides of Interstate 40 in Arkansas.

(WMC-TV) - Drivers were still stranded on the southbound lanes of Interstate 55 and on both sides of Interstate 40 in Arkansas Tuesday afternoon. Traffic turned into a slow crawl later in the evening.

Many drivers were forced to sleep in their cars since the backup on I-55 began Monday afternoon.

Chopper 5 flew over the backup Tuesday morning. Traffic was slow and go for miles from West Memphis to Brinkley, Ark. on I-40. On I-55 the slowdown is now intermittent from Osceola all the way to the Missouri state line.

"People have been stopped over 14 hours without moving an inch on this treacherous highway," Sandy Shute wrote in an email to Action News 5 Tuesday morning. "People have run out of gas, my husband is trapped, very cold, and he has no heat."

Part of I-55 southbound was shut down early Tuesday morning due to multiple accidents involving tractor-trailers.

Keri and Chris Tuttle of Memphis were stuck on I-55 for more than 20 hours. They left St. Louis Monday morning at 10:30 and by mid-day Tuesday were still stuck in their SUV. They slept until 2 a.m. when traffic started moving again, slowly.

"Literally when you look down it's just solid ice and people just sliding all over the place," said Keri.

Fortunately, the couple had stopped for gas and had a backseat full of snacks. They finally made it home after a 27-hour drive, which is usually a four-hour trip.

Many drivers are stranded with their children. Donald Riden's two little ones had one tough day.

"Couldn't get a hotel so actually we stayed on the side of the road, because we couldn't move no further (sic)," he said.

The family of four is traveling from Baltimore to Dallas. Like thousands of others, they hit a wall of traffic late Monday night and slept in a car for six hours while other cars dealt with an icy mess.

Timmy Jerrett was stuck on a Greyhound Bus. He was supposed to get to Forrest City, Ark. late Monday evening, but he did not arrive until Tuesday afternoon.

"Sixty-five or 70 people, you know their kids are crying and hollering and carrying on ... just a mess moving," he said.

Many truckers on deadlines are choosing to drive hours out of the way to get to between Memphis ad Little Rock.

The traffic jams forced James Metzelaars to camp out in Brinkley, Ark. overnight.

"It was really bad. There was a lot of icy areas. I had to go to three different hotels to find one room because everybody was filled up," he said.

He tried again Tuesday morning to head into Memphis.

"Couldn't go across on the interstate. There was a 22-mile back up," he said. "I sat there for three and a half hours and traveled three miles."

Metzelaars and several other truckers later were found in Coahoma County, Mississippi where they went a couple hours out of the way to avoid the mess.

"Our company is advising drivers for those who are heading to Little Rock to come this way, and I've passed a couple of them north heading back toward Little Rock," said Metzelaars.

Several truckers say they saw ice on I-40 both Monday and Tuesday. The combination of interstate backups and the road conditions have many re-thinking their routes, even if it is hours away.

On the other side of the traffic Memphian Kiersten Bagley and her dog Daisey have been stuck in St. Louis since Sunday. What was supposed to be a short weekend trip now has no end in sight.

"At this point we are just trying to figure out when it is safe to leave and go home," she said.

Bagley's car in St. Louis is surrounded by snow and ice. Her family back in Memphis is helping her keep track of the roads.

Monday's winter storm stranded several thousand people on both I-55 and I-40 along with several highways in Tennessee that feed the interstate system, according to the Tenn. Army Guard.

State officials say they pretreated the road before the winter weather hit, but they say once the temperatures drop below 22 degrees, the road salt is no longer effective.

To track Mid-South traffic visit Action News 5's traffic map, here: http://www.wmctv.com/category/70840/traffic.

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Copyright 2014 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.
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