Northern Va. man describes nightmare trip back from snow-cripple - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Northern Va. man describes nightmare trip back from snow-crippled Atlanta

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A trip that typically takes a couple of hours when all is said and done in Atlanta turned into 27 hours of travel for acclaimed interior designer Barry Darr Dixon of Warrenton, Va.

"We literally sat in one place without the wheel of the car making a single revolution,” says Dixon. “It was 14 hours before I saw anything change before we moved an inch.”

His flight home to Reagan National Airport was canceled, then he, an associate and their driver became stranded along I-75 as they attempted to head back into town. They saw cars and trucks skidding off of the road and into each other as a combination of ice and snow coated the pavement. Then it all came to a standstill.

"As people were walking down the road, they looked dazed and confused,” he says. “They were freezing, they were limping, and it was Atlanta, out on the interstate with no one moving."

Dixon adds, "It was like a scene from The Walking Dead."

Mayor Kasim Reed says one reason for the gridlock fiasco was a lack of good planning for winter storms. As the system hit, Atlanta's private sector businesses, government offices and schools all let out at the same time.

Statewide, thousands of kids had to sleep at their schools, but many also became stranded in school buses.

"We could see at one point, they were airlifting school kids out of buses around four in the morning,” says Dixon.

Throughout the night, some drivers were forced to abandon their vehicles.

"They were keeping the cars running, keeping themselves heated because it was 14 degrees outside," he says.

Dixon said one by one, cars around him ran out of gas, but others would open up their vehicles to strangers so they could stay warm.

"Everyone sort of banded together," says Dixon.

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