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Emergency crews called in to handle traffic diverted off I-95 through Caroline Co.

Emergency crews called in to handle traffic diverted off I-95 through Caroline Co.
Posted at 11:20 PM, Jan 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-04 23:20:50-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Caroline County became the epicenter for traffic confusion and chaos on Monday when northbound traffic 95 was diverted at Mile Marker 104, sending drivers to either Route 1 North or South or to Route 207 to 301 North.

These diversions left I-95 north eerily empty on Tuesday night at the Carmel Church exit in Caroline County.

Miles north in Ladysmith is where VDOT crews began cleaning up a mess that left drivers stranded, some for more than a day in bitterly cold conditions.

"We only have 50 people and when you look at it we've called everyone in -- school resource officers, animal control, major crimes,” said Sheriff Tony Lippa. “It's all hands on deck and E-911 has been flooded with calls."

A 40-mile stretch on one of America’s busiest interstates had to be closed because I-95 in Prince William County became a parking lot with countless cars left stranded.

Tractor-trailers jackknifed across the slick surface, with cars sliding into ditches and trees falling onto the interstate.

The treacherous road conditions, forced hundreds, perhaps thousands, to make a decision whether to abandon their cars or brave the cold and sleep in them.

“Unfortunately, we've had some people, and I know they're frustrated, but they were cursing at our dispatchers and people living in the county,” said Lippa. “They wanted certain things done. We are doing the best in our county."

While traffic was taken off I-95, there were some problems, as GPS often gave people dangerous detours.

"Everybody was trying to get off the interstate and the issue we ran into in Caroline County was GPS routing people onto very narrow and dangerous country roads as being the fastest route," said Lt. Chris Wright.

Lippa said deputies and troopers were working long shifts, checking on the stranded with perhaps another round of winter weather just on the horizon later this week.

“If you don't have to be somewhere, stay at home,” Lippa said. “Stay off the roads. Only be out for emergencies and even then, just give us a call, if need be."