Washington state

Hundreds of cars abandoned during snow storm

One of the fallouts from snow storms is abandoned vehicles on roadsides. Some of the folks who did so during Wednesday's afternoon commute started coming back to retrieve them Thursday morning.

One of the worst abandoned vehicle graveyards was along East Lake Sammamish Parkway Northeast and the Northeast Inglewood Hill Road, where more than 200 cars and trucks were left scattered along the shoulders.

Tow-truck drivers were removing the blocking vehicles as rapidly as possible - at $154 a pop.

Nicky Beedle of Sammamish, who was helping a friend retrieve her car, recalled with amazement how quickly the storm arrived.

"It happened so fast," said Beedle, who was helping recover a gray sedan left by friend Vickie Fisher.

"Within 15 minutes, the roads were impassable," Beedle said. "It was just mayhem." Fisher finally abandoned the sedan and walked nearly 10 miles back to her home in the north part of Redmond, Beedle said. She traipsed in the snow for about three hours to reach home.

Other drivers had similar experiences.

One was Peter Carbonaro, who this morning was going back for his car "about 20 cars down," in a long line of vehicles left alongside the parkway.

"I left Seattle at 4:30 p.m. and walked in my front door at 10:15," he said, after leaving his car and walking several miles to his house.

The experience wasn't all bad, however, he noted, and he found that it brought out the best in some people and the worst in others, such as a driver who pulled up behind a stopped car and started honking.

"Somebody in a hurry to go no place fast," he noted, frowning over such impatience.

The night before, however, people had found a common bond in adversity, he said.

"There were literally hundreds of people walking up the hill," he said. "It was a good time.

"It was more festive than Christmas. It pulls everybody together," he said.

This morning, traffic on Interstate 405, normally packed during the morning drive, instead had wide spaces between vehicles that were moving at about 40 mph, rather than the customary 60 or 70. Chained vehicles, however, click-clacked along at 20 mph or so, their chains banging against their fenders.