Hurst couple survives a freezing night on I-70

Hurst couple survives a freezing night on I-70
Dani and Drew Robison were stuck in their pickup truck on I-70 for more than 12 hours.
Dani and Drew Robison were stuck in their pickup truck on I-70 for more than 12 hours.

(KFVS) - The polar vortex that has gripped the Heartland since Sunday left more than 100 drivers stranded on Interstate 70 for more than twelve hours.

The Robison's were on their way back home to Hurst on Sunday afternoon, when they got stuck in miles of standing still traffic.

"As we entered into Illinois from Indiana the roads got instantly worse," Dani Robison said. "There was a thick sheet of ice and the winds were blowing really hard. And there were a lot of cars off the side of the road.

As the couple approached the exit at Casey, they noticed they were down to half a tank of gas in their pickup.

"I thought I was going to pull off at Casey and get some gas," Drew Robison said. "But the off ramp was blocked by semi-trucks, so I just kept on going. I was going to get off at the next exit in Greenup. But we stopped in between there."

"The visibility was less then 50 yards and we were only doing about 15 miles an hour when a truck pulling a trailer in front of us was hit by a big gust of wind. And it just spun him around and off the side of the road right in front of us. We stopped and I got out to check on them and they were fine. And it wasn't a half of a mile farther down the road that we came to a stop."

The couple tried to tune into different radio stations to see if they could find out what was going on ahead of them on the highway.

When that didn't work, Dani picked up her cell phone and began searching the internet. The she said she tried a new app she had loaded onto her iPhone called, WAZE.

"There was someone about three miles ahead of us and then a couple more just two miles ahead of us. And we were all talking to each other trying to replay what was going on," Dani said. " And through that app we found out that people had called the highway patrol, 911 and local police stations."

As night fell upon them the temperatures really began to drop.

"It was minus 16 degrees on my truck's thermometer, Drew said. "We were having to conserve gas. So I would shut the truck off for about an hour, and then start it back up for about a half an hour. We had some extra blankets with us just in case something like this happened."

After more than 12 hours stuck in a line of vehicles that stretched for miles ahead of them and behind them they saw an Illinois State Police car drive westbound in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 70.

"Within two hours of seeing that patrol car people on the app a couple miles ahead of us said they could see tow trucks moving around. And then within an hour after that they said they were moving. And then about 7 o'clock that morning we started moving," Dani said.

The couple got off at the next exit and filled up their gas tank to make it back to their home in Hurst.

"When we got up to where the wreck was, it was on this hill and there were lots of cars slide off both side of the road. And a couple of semi-trucks still blocking one lane. And if it wasn't for Dani's app on her phone we wouldn't have known anything about what was going on out there throughout the night," Drew said.

The couple finally made it back home by the middle of the day on Monday, more than 24 hours after they left Dani's relatives home in Auburn, Indiana on Sunday morning.

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