Drivers on I-55 in Ark. forced to sleep in vehicles overnight - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Drivers on I-55 in Ark. forced to sleep in vehicles overnight

(WMC-TV) - Many drivers along Interstate 55 in Ark. were forced to spend Monday night in their vehicles as the result of the huge traffic snarl that continues to plague drivers Tuesday evening.

What's for breakfast? McDonald's, of course, as it was the only restaurant nearby. Blake Todd, of West Memphis, walked up the interstate to get breakfast for himself, and other stranded drivers.

"We were walking to McDonald's and I was picking up orders for people and by the time I got back with the food, traffic started moving again and I had to hitch a ride here to meet my co-driver," said Todd, who spent the night in his tractor-trailer.

The same could be said for hundreds of others stopped on I-55.

"It was horrible. I put on Facebook last night to pray for everybody. There was people sleeping in cars and everything," he said.

The Arkansas National Guard and Arkansas State Police are helping stranded drivers along the interstate.

The icy roads are testing travelers' patience.

"Seventeen hours and 51 miles. That's since 9 last night," said truck driver James Harmon.

"It took me an hour to get here and Turrell is just 15 miles down the road. I just tell everybody to be careful," added Turrell resident Donnie Slone.

It took Action News 5 crews more than two hours to get to Turrell from Midtown Memphis Tuesday morning.

Some drivers decided to make the most of their wait -- and the snow that Mid-Southerners do not see too often.

Matt Flad, who lives in Jonesboro, started a snowball fight on the side of the interstate.

"It just hit so hard," he said. "Maybe next time they'll be prepared. Instead of sitting the trucks on the side, they'll spend money when it does hit. This is life safety, you know?"

State officials say they pre-treated the road before the winter weather hit. But, they say once the temperatures drop below 22 degrees, the road salt is no longer effective.

Bob Curtis is traveling from Texas to Michigan to see his mother, who is ill.

"Last night [Monday], I was on I-40, about 45 miles from here. That was 10:30 last night and I've just made it here on my way," said Curtis.

Curtis says the road conditions in Ark. are some of the worst he has ever seen.

Best advice? Be careful. Take your time. Be patient.

Copyright 2014 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.
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