Drivers stuck for hours after ice causes crashes - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Drivers stuck for hours after ice causes crashes

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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Byron Fazende saw cars slowing in front of him on the Green Bridge, so he tapped the brakes too.

"Of course, the truck just kept sliding," he says. "Car came around me and I seen the car slam into the other two-cars. I was just bracing myself for whatever's coming and the red truck hit me and another car hit me."

Fazende was one of more than twenty drivers involved in a series of crashes on the bridge connecting New Orleans East with Chalmette.

The problems began around 6:30 Friday night, as rain became ice up to half an inch thick on the crossing.

"My car started to slide straight into the guardrail, so I bumped face-first into the guardrail, then bounced back to the divider, then I bumped back face-first into the guardrail," says another driver. "I did a whole 360 and slid down backwards, going in reverse pretty much almost to the bottom of the bridge."

A few drivers suffered moderate injuries and emergency workers cautiously made their way up the slippery bridge to help.

Everyone else waited for New Orleans Police to come fill out crash reports.

"After a few hours of waiting, the fire department and St. Bernard got the buses to come in and as we walked off the bridge, they got the buses to take us to where we can get home and just leave," says Fazande. "They told us to just leave the vehicles up here and come back this morning. Came up this morning about 8:30 and they told us to come back later."

Fazende and other drivers say they can't understand why it took so long for NOPD to respond.

At noon Saturday, Karen Romero was still waiting for her car to be towed.

"I don't see nothing, they're not doing nothing," she says. "Terrible."

Even tow truck drivers noticed.

"This is the first time we've seen NOPD since...the whole time," says Nicholas Schumaker. "They finally showed up this morning."

"It all depends on how fast they can get out here and what their call volume is."

Nearly twenty hours after the crash, Green Bridge was finally cleared and reopened.

It was a frightening and frustrating night but Fazende says he feels lucky.

"A little stiff but I'm just blessed, I'm just blessed you know?" he says. "It could have been a lot worse. It could have been a lot worse."

NOPD says road conditions were too dangerous overnight to get tow trucks and equipment to the crash scene.

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