Stranded drivers at exit 67 on I-90

By  | 

BOX ELDER, S.D, (KEVN) - More than a dozen truck drivers are making Love's Travel Stop at exit 67 on I-90 their new home for a couple of days due to the severe weather conditions.

Between the heavy wind and thick snow, the drivers say they could not read the signs nor see the lines on the road to differentiate the lanes. Many of the drivers are frustrated, tired and missing their families even more. But with I-90 being closed from exit 67 toward Minnesota, whether anyone likes it or not, this is the furthest anyone can go.

A long waiting game is how every driver stranded at Love's Travel Stop in Box Elder off of I-90 feels.

Joe Chitwood is a truck driver coming from Sioux Falls. The further he went West, "the slicker it started getting. The last 50 miles wind was picking up. Black ice everywhere and I was sliding pretty good," Chitwood said.

In the last 20 years, Chitwood says this is the worst storm he has ever driven in.

Several truck drivers packed blankets to make their trucks their new lounge areas, including Lee Vestal.

Vestal is a truck driver who left Billings, Montana yesterday to head to Alabama. He packed an emergency supply backpack filled with clothes, water, and food just in case. But hoped he could possibly beat the storm.

"It's bad out here it ain't safe for nobody to be out here. I mean I wouldn't come out. I drive out here for a living, I still won't go out there and I make money by doing this. I wouldn't recommend this to nobody," Vestal said.

Some drivers tried to make the best out of the situation by eating and interacting with other drivers. It didn't stop some from trying to head out, but they couldn't even make it out of the parking lot even if they wanted to.

These weather conditions are not only uncomfortable for the drivers but a financial bind too. One truck driver says if he does not deliver his truck on Tuesday to Bismarck, North Dakota, he can lose $1,800.

"Financially it's hitting me hard. Plus, I got bills. What's today's date? The rent is due. I got four kids. I'm happily married. So financially this is, knocking me out," Errol Duncan said.

Duncan says if his trip keeps getting pushed back he could lose up to $4,000 in just one week.

Several drivers say they wish there were more hotels and accommodations at travel stops to help them out more on days like this.