Drivers Pick Up Cars Abandoned On Area Highways

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A winter storm causes one of the worst cases of gridlock this area has ever seen, and not just one road, but many, including interstates.

Many people abandoned their cars on the road, opting to walk home in the heavy snow.

Kelly McPherson has more on hundreds of cars left on roads that were impassable.  

Drivers say road conditions were worse during this storm than last year’s blizzards.

“This time it was completely insane,” said Adam Czyz, who abandoned car.

“All of the cars were left in the middle of 83. You couldn’t go straight. You couldn’t go around. Oh, it was horrible,” said Theresa Woods, trapped on I-83.

“I was afraid what might happen to the car when I left it, but what can I do?” said Czyz.

Drivers who abandoned their cars on I-83 and Northern Parkway dug out Thursday or found them relocated to Poly High.  Dozens of drivers felt they had no choice but to walk away.

“I got stuck right there on I-83, sitting there for about three hours, until I decided to just park the car and start walking,” said Tony Murray, who abandoned his car.

“So this morning when we came out looking for the car, I was in hysterics because I thought they had towed the car. I called my mom and she said they had towed everybody here,” said Leah Brown, who was picking up her towed car.

Woods had a Good Samaritan help her home.

“The doctor was kind enough to take me as far as he could, and then I walked home the rest of the way, a doctor from the University of Maryland. I didn’t even get his name. He was like an angel,” said Woods.

When the flakes stopped, frustration filled the air.

“This is crazy. What’s the city doing? Everybody stranded out there. People run out of gas, people run out of money. What’s the deal?” said Darien Tucker, stranded driver.

“There was a lot of things that were going on. We had lightrail down, we had buses that were stuck, we had power outages,” said Adrienne Barnes, Baltimore City Department of Transportation.

Secondary roads will be salted and plowed next.  And neighborhood streets?

“I can’t give that answer right now. Right now, we’re going to be working diligently.  We ask people to be patient,” said Barnes.  

Dozens of cars had to be towed. If your car was located on Northern Parkway or the JFX, your car was relocated to Poly for free. 

Motorists whose cars were towed from interstates should contact the Maryland State Police barracks in the county where they abandoned their vehicles. A list of barracks is at

Troopers also warn drivers that they could still encounter abandoned vehicles on the interstates, and urge caution when passing a tow truck attempting to remove an abandoned vehicle

Meanwhile, if you were parked somewhere you weren’t supposed to be, that means you were probably towed. Call a local impound lot to find your car.

  • Survivor

    People need to grow up and be prepared/responsible for their own safety. There was plenty of notice about this storm. They chose to go to work/go out in it, and then did not fill up their cars with gas or provision their vehicles with extra clothes, blankets, food and fluids. Stop expecting “the city” or somebody else to save them from natural weather events. I am sypathetic to those who got stuck on the roads; but expecting some agency to somehow save thousands and thousands of people who couldn’t get around themselves is idiotic. If you’re going out in bad weather, pack up your car and be prepared to stay in at least overnight. If you need meds – bring them. If you’re sick or advanced pregnancy – stay home. Duh!

  • Mather

    @ the driver asking what the city was doing- they told you the storm was coming and advised that you head home before it hit. What were YOU doing still out there?

    • JP

      Well, the place I work didn’t officially close until it was too late to be safe. I wasn’t able to try to go home until 6:00. I ended up staying at a hotel across from my job (that took 40 minutes to walk to even though it’s ACROSS THE STREET). If we were able to leave earlier, I’d have left by 2:00.

  • Mr. Hanson

    People need to excerise their common sense before going to work. Either leave early or take a day off. The public was warned of this forthcoming storm. The city and the county were helpless and could do little to help out.

    • Tricia

      Exactly! And if your employer is “not that nice”, well you risk your job or your life! Which one is more important? EVERYONE has a choice! We got plenty of notice about the storm, it was no surprise!

    • Conni Stiffler Smiddy

      Unfortunately, everyone can’t leave their work early or not go in. Every employer is not that nice!

      • Sarah

        That is true, my work is one of those places, but people need to understand the city/county are doing the best they can, when there’s that much snow coming down that fast, accidents happen, and when accidents happen it causes traffic, not much can be done about that

  • Nadine

    The city never plows chesley ave on belair rd across from St. Micheal. I left 3:30 am and 1 block down is county and the plow was plowing. When I got off chesley I went to northern parkway. The street was ice and snow. The county always cleans there streets.The city never cleans or plows. Last time I had to waite for nation gards. The only thing city wants is more taxes and raising things so high that people are leaving here

    • m

      “The only thing city wants is more taxes and raising things so high that people are leaving here”

      And yet you and all the other geniuses continue to vote democrat.

  • Jeff

    It seems to be a lack of common sense these days. Do you want to know what the city was doing. They were battling a blizzard. They had snow plows stuck on roads because too many cars were abandoned or crashed that they couldn’t get by. On 695 they had to supsend snow removal near 795 because they already had 15 snow removal vehicles trapped due to over a dozen cars and a tractor trailer that were blocking the road and making it impossible to pass. The cars and tractor trailer had to be removed one car at a time before they could resume. They said snow removal was worse in this storm becuase there were soo many people on the roads hampering the snow removal process. The storm was no shock. They said it was going to be heavy snow and very windy. It’s simple, unless it’s an emergency, stay off the road.

    • Sarah

      Another reason roads were worse, they couldn’t pre-treat the roads with salt, the rain just washed it all away.

      Not everyone has the option to just stay home. The timing of the storm was bad, a lot of people were at work and couldn’t leave early.

  • Jeff

    M….. way to make something about common sense into a political issue. I didn’t see politics mentioned once in the article.

  • Jackie

    In today’s wonderful American Economy not everyone has the pleasure of taking a day from work. Jobs are scarce already. Sure we knew the storm was approaching, so for those that had to be at work, why didn’t the employers allow their staff to leave at least 2 hrs prior to the storm to give them the opportunity to get home safely? Knowing what the storm was bringing I am sure many people thougth today, Thurs. would be even worse and would need the time to dig out, therefore, loosing a 1 day pay instead of 2 days pay. I unfortunately am unemployed by no fault of my own, but my thought process would have been to go to work on Wed., and hope that my employer would be considerate enough to allow the leave early option knowing that Thursday would be dig out day……so now you know what mess this has caused so many people and the state for that matter in getting the clean up started, processed, etc.

  • Chantal

    @Jackie Thank you. I was advised, and prepared, but still had to work. My employer didn’t grant any leeway for dismissal until 5:15p == to use pto, I was already gone. Fortunately I was only stuck for about 5 hours… just four miles from home, but God! Thankful I made it, but hope not to experience that again.

  • Survivor

    Sure, people need to work. But they need to understand at baseline that if you’re hurt or dead you won’t be into work anymore. And their employer isn’t going to pay for a mashed car, pay for them to be out of work (unless you have saved sick leave) or pay for them to be disabled for the rest of their lives. Have no argument against those who weighed the alternatives and rationally decided they had to go to work; the issue is those who went out and then expected someone else/the city to rescue them because they were unprepared to stay out if needed. And Nadine (I know but I can’t help it) – maybe people are leaving the city because they want their children to be well educated enough to spell words correctly and use correct grammar. How about you and your neighbors taking up shovels – and gosh – clearing snow off of your own street if needed? Too many people looking for others to take care of their problems.

  • Angela

    I agree that people need to be responsible and mindful of their actions. I don’t want to hear “I ran out of gas or money” THat is your own fault. I was taught you don’t let your gas tank get that low to the point you get stranded. In between, half and a quarter, I’m filling it up. Same thing with money, I don’t leave the house with nothing in my pocket.

    As for work, not every place is a 9 to 5 place. I work in a hospital and my shift started at 7pm. However, I left home around 4 before it got bad and went to work. I also spent the night there because I was afraid that I wasn’t going to get home safely. I understand it wasn’t the best situation but I would rather sleep there then not get home safely.

    • harry

      There were reports of people being stuck on 83 for over 8 hours. If you don’t want to freeze, you let your car run. Even if you intermittently shut if off, a car idling for 8 hours is going to run down your gas faster than driving. People were stuck overnight on 70. Assuming they didn’t want to walk the 20 miles home and abandon their cars, they stayed with their car, running it until the gas ran out.
      I agree that not everyone can leave when they said they were supposed to. Luckily, my job closed early and I did not have to go in. Not everyone is that lucky. If their shift is from 9-5, they need to be there from 9-5.

      • Laura B

        correct, and some people did fill up right before…like it’s been said, if you have to be sitting in your car in a winter storm, your best chance is to keep it running, and yes you may run out of gas!! Not much choice if you are not able to get to a gas station to refill!

  • Charles

    I think the city actually went on strike during the storm. It is ridiculous that the city and county did not think it necessary to move or plow snow during this storm . I had to go to work and it was the worst that I have ever seen the roads and it was due to the city and county inadequacies . So the city should not cry about people abandoning their cars it is there job to keep the roads passable or at least TRY!!!!

    • Laura B

      they did not go on strike. they were called back because the ones that were out couldn’t get through to do their job. and wasn’t going to get any easier until the storm all but stopped!

    • Sarah

      They were trying, due to traffic, accidents, and the lack of pre-treating (rain washed all the salt away) it made it difficult though

  • Tony

    Employers don’t care if you get hurt or worse. They’re only concerned about the bottom line these days. This will only happen again and again and again. People need to eat, pay the over extremely over priced BGE bill if they want heat and the rest or morgage. On top of it all Maryland, southern PA and Northen VA are way over crowded. I grew up here and during the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s you would see snow storms of this magnitude but not the over crowding like it is today!

  • Mac

    My friend’s employer would not let anyone leave work until 6PM. Folks asked starting around 2PM if they could leave–and the boss said no. My friend cannot afford to lose his job. He did not get home until 3:30 in the morning. Normally it is a 20 minute drive. He got stuck on the beltway. It was around 2AM when he finally got off at his exit–but then the car got stuck about a mile or so from his house. He waited to see if any help might drive by–but finally had to walk home. He did not want to be out in that mess–but had no choice. He can hardly make his bills due to this economy. He is not the only one from his place of employment who had a horrible night. So, don’t blame all the people who were stranded last night. I bet most had no choice.

  • A

    Its a snow storm. @$%# happens. People need to have common sense and take responsibility for themselves. Yes it sucks that people were stuck but its winter, and in this region it happens. If you can afford a car you can afford snow tires and chains. Anybody who drives long distances in the winter should have a winter survival kit(water, blankets, clothes, snacks) in their car but very few do. The weathermen told us this storm was on its way several days in advance so everybody had time to prepare. The city and counties were plowing and salting during the storm, but they were working on major roads/highways first. That means they are not going to come plow every little side street at first just to please those complaining. The plows cant move the snow or salt if they are stuck in traffic backups due to accidents and people stuck blocking the roads. If you left your car and it was towed, be happy it was towed for free. There have been previous times when any car blocking the plows were towed and the owners were charged.

  • Donna L

    I took me 7 hours to get home last night. I was stuck on 29 for most of that time. There was 8 lanes of traffic on a 4 lane road. The snowplows were stuck in that mess as well because nobody left an emergency lane free for them. There was a lot of stupidity involved.

  • what

    You know what people its not stupid, its not dumb to go to work, or not fill up your car. Its fear, fear of loosing your job if your boss decides your history, because you must leave when they feel they need you, then you fear what will happen to you if you loose your job, no food for your kids, no house for your kids. The ones who say they never leave home without gas or money, must be nice to have those things like jobs. Some people have been laid off and maybe just got a new job and scared to loose it. No, no employer cares about you really. Ttaking care of yourself is what they were trying to do by going to work to get the money for gas. If they lost their jobs and colllect unemployment you be damning them as well. No win situations caused the mess along with fear.

  • WHAT

    oh and pls help yourself to the spellcheck and grammer comments, they never bother me in fact I think they are funny people have that little of life to pick on someones grammer.

  • Survivor

    Grammar check: okay! Not its, correct would be it’s (for it is). Losing (not loosing). Lose (not loose). You’re (you are) not your. Grammar not grammer. Someone’s not someones. Not even going to address the syntax/grammer errors – limited myself to spelling. I think it’s sad when people are unable to use the English language correctly to express their (not there or they’re) thoughts. What were they doing in school while a teacher made the effort to prepare them for adult life? You think it’s (not its or its’) funny, but really it’s just sad. There might be some association between having trouble finding/keeping a job and the ability to correctly speak and write. I cringe when I see badly written and badly spelled entries; not out of a sense of superiority but out of a lack of tolerance for those who can’t be bothered to write clearly and thoughtfully. English is the native American language; immigrants surely have a right to struggle with it, but those who were born or educated in American should be able to express themselves in correctly English language.

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