Knoxville man stranded on the interstate as snow snarled traffic

Local News

A Knoxville man is back home and safe, after he was stranded on the interstate in the middle of a winter weather mess. 

Michael Grider spoke to WATE 6 On Your Side right when he returned to Knoxville Monday afternoon. His road trip from D.C. totaled more than 24 hours.

It was a drive that Grider says was unlike any one he’s made before. 

“We get snow here and you drive in the snow, but one or two inches of snow that is kind of slushy that lasts for a few hours and is gone – is one thing. This was pretty significant. You could tell looking out the window we were talking four or five inches of snow within the first hour of us getting in to it,” Grider said.

He and his wife were on their way back home from a trip to D.C., leaving early Sunday morning. They took Interstate 81 to get here. 

“It was pretty scary at times we couldn’t go faster than about 25 miles an hour at best, you couldn’t tell where are the lanes, you couldn’t see the road way markings,” said Grider. 

They even came to a dead stop for hours at mile marker 96, about 21 miles North of Wytheville, Virginia. 

“People were getting out walking around their cars, and some kids in front of us were playing in the snow,” he said. “I’d say we were stranded for a couple hours on the interstate but we got off the interstate because we were afraid we would end up getting stranded overnight if we didn’t. It wasn’t getting any better, it was only getting worse.”

That’s why they decided to spend the night at a Virginia hotel. So their trip, expected to take 8 hours, lasted nearly 32 hours, he says. 

“Scary, tedious, nerve-wracking. All of those things,” Grider said. 

The pair snapped a picture when they crossed Tennessee’s state line. The smiles on their faces clearly showing how thankful they are to be back in Knoxville.
We also asked Grider about a lesson learned from this situation. He said if you’re even thinking about needing to pull off the road in winter weather, that’s probably a good indication that you shouldn’t be out there driving.

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