Snow shuts down Grapevine

January 24, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Interstate 5 through the Grapevine remains shut down Thursday because of heavy snow and ice. It could be hours before it reopens.

It was a cold, frustrating morning for hundreds of drivers left stranded along the Grapevine. However, crews have managed to get all of those stranded drivers off the road.

The drivers were turned around and led south on Interstate 5 into Gorman. Interstate 5 between Bakersfield and Castaic remains shut down indefinitely.

After sleeping in their cars all night, drivers near the Grapevine finally got some relief late Thursday morning. The California Highway Patrol was able to get them off the mountain, but many are still far from home.

"We're on our way home to Lebanon, Oregon," said Misty Davis, an Oregon resident. "We've been here since two o'clock in the morning. This is our second time trying to get through and we haven't been able to make it. And we have an 18-hour drive ahead of us."

On Wednesday, a foot of snow fell in the area forcing the CHP to close things down. Hundreds of drivers were left stuck in the snow. Some found hotels, but most of them slept in their car, eating what food they had and trying to stay warm.

"I've been sleeping, I had a little bit of food and I got a Full Throttle (energy drink) thinking I may be able to make it home, but no," said Dave Eskildsen, an Oakland resident. "So I crashed and woke up with a nice CHP man, knocked on the window, gave me a Gatorade."

Scott Gaddy had two horses to keep warm all night. He, like most people stranded, was kept in the dark as to when he could go home.

"Nobody knew what was going on until just about an hour or two ago," said Gaddy, a Lodi resident. "It's the first time we saw a Highway Patrol officer and some of the news folks. Before that it was six, eight hours with nothing so we just pulled over and waited."

After more than 12 hours sitting in the snow, cars and trucks were finally able to get off the mountain. Most of the drivers are trying to find a place to stay for the time being.

At this point, the Highway Patrol has no idea when Interstate 5 will re-open. They say everything depends on the weather. If another big snowstorm hits, those drivers are certainly going to be in big trouble. Waiting drivers should continue to check with Caltrans and the Highway Patrol.