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'We just wanted answers' | First Coast women recall winter storm gridlock

Eventually, both women were able to get out of the gridlock okay.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Two women from the First Coast were stuck for nearly 24 hours on I-95 as a winter storm stranded them in the car.

"They (other drivers) are afraid, we are afraid and this is like nothing I have ever seen before," Joy Gallie said Tuesday morning as she and her friend, Jacqie Vivaldi, sat in their car on I-95.

Gallie and Vivaldi were on their way back to the First Coast after visiting family in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Around 1 p.m. on Monday, they got stuck in the stopped traffic on I-95 near Quantico, Virginia, and have not moved since. 

"We don’t see the first responders or people specifically in this area. So if they are doing their best, I understand that takes a while, but we are not even getting an estimate, and we have been here in this spot since last night," Gallie said Tuesday morning.

After 23 hours, the two friends finally left the gridlock. They were traveling with their two dogs and had had enough food and dog food to get them through the day.  

However, they said their experience concerned them that help never arrived

"We just wanted answers. I mean, people were starting to get out of their cars, people are running out of gas, it's freezing," Gallie recalled Tuesday night. "Thankfully, we had food. But a lot of people didn't have food and water or gas. And they're sitting on a freezing highway in the dark."

They say there was no warning at the time that I-95 was closed. The information they had was that it had reopened, which is why they decided to try the route. Instead, they impatiently waited for traffic to finally begin moving, a moment that had them overwhelmed with emotion.

"We were relieved," Vivaldi said. "And like I said, thankfully, you know our dogs we're doing okay, and we had some water left left but it's just such a relief because things can go bad really fast."

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