HACKENSACK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — An elderly woman who was apparently afraid to drive during the blizzard Saturday was found unresponsive in her car in northern New Jersey, authorities said.
A gold Cadillac sedan with New York plates was covered with snow in the parking lot of a Burger King on Hackensack Avenue in Hackensack on Monday. The 78-year-old woman’s body was found inside.
According to police, the Medford, NY woman had told workers at the restaurant that she was going to stay in the lot because she was afraid to drive in the snow. Then they said on Saturday morning at 9:30, she told another employee who happened to be there when the restaurant was closed, that she didn’t need help.
Police recovered her body Monday morning after receiving a call from the Burger King.
Bob Syrek lives down the block and noticed the vehicle during the height of the storm.
“There was a guy with a pick-up truck trying to plow the lot out,” he told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell. “I’m saying, ‘he’s wasting his time’ and then that’s when I noticed the car parked there. It was there all day Saturday, all day Sunday.”
As CBS2’s Christine Sloan reported, workers at a private ambulance company across the street noticed the car on Saturday morning, covered in snow despite the lot being plowed.
“I came to work 5:30 Saturday morning, noticed the car was out there. Sunday morning as well. We were digging out the trucks and the car was still stuck out there,” Rubin Santiago said.
Another witness says he believes the vehicle that police found is the same car he saw driving erratically Friday evening. He put two and two together when he looked out his office window Monday and saw police searching the car.
“A gold car exactly like that was driving the wrong way on the wrong side of the street,” the witness told 1010 WINS’ Samantha Liebman.
Santiago said the Cadillac didn’t stand out because it was surrounded by several other cars abandoned in the lot during the blizzard.
Authorities said her car was not running and the keys were not in the ignition when she was found. The tailpipe was also cleared of snow.
The car was removed around 11:30 a.m. Monday.
“Changes your perception a little to take a peak at vehicles laying around, but there’s so many cars around that’s not a normal thing to do,” Santiago said.
Police removed what appeared to be a bag filled with medicine. Investigators told CBS2’s Sloan that another Burger King employee may have noticed the woman moving around in the car in the afternoon on Sunday.
Other also noticed something else.
“Friday night, I left Maywood on Summit Avenue going to Hackensack and gold Seville, very , very clean was driving on the wrong side of the road in oncoming traffic all the way down Summit Avenue. That’s about twelve blocks from here,” David Gato said.
A cause of death has not been determined, but foul play is not suspected. The medical examiner will determine exact cause of death.
The woman’s name has not been released, pending notification of relatives.
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