Drivers stranded for hours on CR 700 North in Portage Township

2014-01-06T17:55:00Z 2014-01-07T11:55:09Z Drivers stranded for hours on CR 700 North in Portage TownshipBob Kasarda, (219) 548-4345
January 06, 2014 5:55 pm  • 

Kylee Shell said a Porter County highway plow truck left her and several other motorists stranded for more than six hours Sunday night on County Road 700 North in Portage Township.

The South Haven resident said a friend and her father were driving her home from work at the Lowe's store in Portage when they noticed the snowplow building up a 6-foot-tall wall of snow ahead of them on eastbound 700 at Airport Road.

The truck then left the area, she said.

"I know they could see us stranded there," Shell said. "There was a line of six cars."

She said her friend's father attempted to turn his four-wheel drive vehicle around, but other vehicles were already stuck and blocking the roadway.

"We just sat there and waited," she said. "There was nothing we could do."

Her friend and her father had just stopped at the grocery store, so there was no risk of the group going hungry, Shell said. But even with the heater running in the vehicle, she said ice was building up on the inside of the windows.

"It was just horrible because they left us there stranded," she said.

It was not until about 11 p.m. that an unidentified plow showed up and broke through a opening in the snow wall large enough for the vehicles to escape.

Officials with the county highway department were busy this morning clearing roadways and thus unavailable for comment.

The county had pulled its plow trucks off the road at 6 p.m. Sunday and they did not return until 4 a.m. Monday, other than to assist firetruck and ambulance calls, Assistant Highway Supervisor David James had said.

"I feel badly there were people out in the cold for so long, however, I have no doubt whatsoever that the snowplow driver did not intentionally leave them stranded," said Porter County Commissioner Laura Blaney. "I would hope if anyone else finds themselves stranded before this cold lets up, that they call 911 and make sure emergency personnel are aware help is needed."

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