Motorists stranded on icy Denton freeway for up to 24 hours

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by MARIE SAAVEDRA

WFAA

Posted on December 7, 2013 at 6:34 PM

Updated Saturday, Dec 7 at 11:52 PM

DENTON, Texas — Creating some of the worst road conditions and stranding some motorists for nearly 24 hours on the side of the highway, the winter storm packed a lingering punch for Denton County.

Saturday morning on Interstate 35E, nothing was as it should be. Ice created brake lights for miles, sent SUVs off-roading, kept tires spinning and created headaches for people like Michelle Taylor.

“Today is worse than yesterday,” she said as she stood next to her car that became caught in a ditch as she tried to maneuver around traffic. “We were thinking we could just come right through here, and obviously that didn't work.".

Her saving grace would be a stranger. Zach Sewell had a trailer hitch and a kind heart.

“Well, I have a four-wheel drive pickup, and some people don't, and I have an opportunity to help out," he said. "I don't know... it was how I was raised, I guess."

But, she likely didn't get far once Sewell got her out of the ditch and back on the road. Hundreds were parked or at an extremely slow crawl in both the northbound and southbound lanes. Few could hide their frustration.

Friends Garrett Haviland and Nauzi Jagosh, from Oklahoma City, were headed to Dallas to see Kanye West in concert. They didn't get close.

“We left Oklahoma City around 2:30 p.m. yesterday and we still aren't even in Sanger, Texas and it's almost noon the next day," Jagosh said via phone.

Fortunately their Fiat, which became their hotel room, isn't a gas guzzler.

“We did go ahead and turn the car off for a few hours and then we woke up and the car had physical frost in it, so we had to turn the car back on,” she said.

The pair said they and other stranded drivers finally began to make progress Saturday afternoon.

Denton police said the roads remain treacherous because backups have made it tough for wrecking crews and salt trucks to reach the areas where they’re needed most. Police continue to urge motorists to stay home if they can.

E-mail msaavedra@wfaa.com

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