UNION, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Drivers were dealt once again with slick road conditions Monday after an overnight freeze.
As CBS2’s Janelle Burrell reported, crews in Union kept busy in the morning clearing Route 22 under the Garden State Parkway. Overnight, the underpass turned into what looked like a frozen pond. Later, it melted into a mess that shut down the roadway for hours, causing a major backup during the morning commute.
“I’ve never seen it that bad,” said Daniel Puglia, of Union.
The sheet of black ice seemed to stretch from Yonkers to New, where the Palisades Parkway shut down.
With the conditions still slick in some spots, George Assante, of Union, was gripping the railing of a walkway as he took his dog, Luna, for a stroll while still recovering from a spill they took Sunday.
“I didn’t realize when I stepped out in the morning that the top of the steps there were just solid ice, and I went for a dozer,” he said.
That was the situation for many across the region Sunday. Drivers were gliding uncontrollably down streets, crashing into other vehicles.
As CBS2’s Jessica Schneider reported, one man was saved by strangers in the middle of a 30-car pileup on Interstate 95, as conditions were so bad that an ambulance could not even get to him.
“It was a situation where cars were every which way; there were trucks, tractor trailers all over the road,” said Michael Rothschild of the Teaneck Volunteer Ambulance Corps.
Rothschild got the call at 7:30 a.m. for numerous motor vehicle accidents. When he arrived at the scene, he had to get to a man showing symptoms of a heart attack.
But the ambulance was parked half a mile away, unable to get any closer because of the sheet of ice.
“He was having crushing chest pain. He was gray, and at that point, it was really when I decided that we needed to get this guy of there quickly,” Rothschild said. “The only thing I had near me were cars, and somebody has a blanket in a car, and that’s when we decided, you know, I’m going to make a sled.”
The Teaneck volunteer ambulance corps has four ambulances, but only one was dispatched to the 30-car pileup. The EMTs had to work practically alone, since police and other fire departments were on other urgent calls.
“We said we need four more ambulances, and we couldn’t get anybody,” Rothschild said. “We couldn’t get anybody at all.”
Rothschild relied on two drivers who were uninjured, and jumped in to help carry the heart attack patient on the blanket sled.
“We had a guy who said, ‘Listen, I know nothing, but I’ll follow you, and tell me what you need,’” he said. “It was literally one foot in front of the other. We held onto the guard rail. We tethered to each other.”
Because it was a volunteer ambulance corps, there was no record kept of the heart attack patient. It was unclear how he was doing Monday night, but he was alert when they got to the hospital.