Hundreds stranded in snow on Kentucky highway

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Dozens of drivers are stranded on an interstate in Kentucky due to a winter storm on Thursday, March 5, 2015.

By Eliott C. McLaughlin

(CNN – March 5, 2015) — Florida resident Sue Ellen Kilgallon knew the storm was coming and tried to get out of northern Kentucky Wednesday night. Instead, she got stuck in the snow on Interstate 65.

She and her two dogs were still there Thursday morning, 12 hours later. Her on-board sustenance consisted of two bottles of water and a pack of peanut butter crackers, she told CNN in a telephone interview.

“We decided to get out of Louisville before it got really bad, hoping to get to Nashville,” she said.

Twenty-five miles south of the city, Kilgallon would hit “nothing but dead stop” on I-65. She’s now among hundreds snowbound on the highway, Trooper Jeff Gregory with the Kentucky State Police said.

The highway is shut down north of Elizabethtown, he said, and though one lane remains open for emergency vehicles, the grade is steep, making it difficult for authorities to reach the stranded motorists.

Shortly before 9 a.m., Gregory got word that the National Guard had been activated to help the snowbound travelers, he said.

A morning weather report indicated that over a 15-hour span, 21 inches of snow had fallen on Elizabethtown, about 50 miles south of Louisville. Other parts of Kentucky, along with parts of Ohio to the north and Tennessee to the south, have seen more than a foot of snow.

Though a traffic camera on I-65 between Louisville and Elizabethtown shows southbound traffic at a standstill and empty northbound lanes, Kilgallon said she saw sporadic traffic headed north.

Kilgallon has a scanner in the car and said she has heard that a tractor-trailer collided with several cars, and while the truck was moved, there were not enough tow trucks to move the other vehicles involved in the accident.

Asked if she was upset with Kentucky officials, she said no.

“I think they’re doing the best they can,” she said. “I’d cry if it weren’t so amusing.”

CNN’s Chuck Johnston, Brandon Miller and Carol Costello contributed to this report.

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