FREDERICKSBURG, Va. — Sen. Tim Kaine left his home in Richmond for his usual two-hour commute to the U.S. Capitol after Monday’s snowstorm, eager to negotiate over voting rights legislation and preside over the Senate on Tuesday morning.
Instead, he was stranded all night on a stretch of Interstate 95 where trucks lost control on the icy pavement, trapping hundreds of drivers in temperatures that dropped to 15 degrees.
The Democrat told radio station WTOP that he worried about the families running out of fuel and food, but at least they had body heat to share. Kaine said his miserable travel experience became a survival project that he'll never forget.
The ordeal was made a little bit easier, said Kaine, when a family from Connecticut walked through the stalled cars in the middle of the night handing out oranges.
He tweeted a picture of the orange on the dashboard of his Ford Escape.
The generosity also caught the attention of Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, who said "Connecticut values extend well beyond our state's boundaries."
"This family’s generosity meant much more than just a snack," he said in a post sharing Kaine's tweet. "It was a friendly reminder that we’re all in this together. "
There were no immediate reports of serious injuries or deaths.
Around daybreak, road crews began helping drivers get off “at any available interchange," the Virginia Department of Transportation tweeted.
At a news conference, officials could not say how many miles of backup remained or how many cars were still stuck.
“I could not even imagine how many are out there," said Marcie Parker, a Virginia Department of Transportation engineer leading the effort to clear the interstate.
An Associated Press photographer who flew in a helicopter along a 50-mile stretch of interstate observed about a dozen clusters of stuck vehicles on Tuesday afternoon.
Information from WUSA and the Associated Press was used in this story
Doug Stewart is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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