In Buffalo, Helpless Families Lost Loved Ones Trapped in Cars

3 storm victims died in their cars, says an Erie County official
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 28, 2022 10:40 AM CST
In Buffalo, Helpless Families Lost Loved Ones Trapped in Cars
A car sits immobile and blanketed in snow on Sunday in Buffalo, New York.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Thompson)

There are tales of amazing rescues out of Buffalo, but also stories of the other type: the tragic deaths of people who became stuck in their cars and couldn't be rescued amid a historic blizzard. NBC News has the stories of families who are mourning lost loved ones. Stasia Jozwiak's family is one of them. The 73-year-old left for the grocery store on Friday afternoon to get fish for Christmas Eve dinner. Her Chevy Cobalt became stuck in a snowdrift around 2pm. Her daughter's spouse tried and failed to reach her on foot; her daughter's pickup truck with snow tires was lodged in the snow as well, preventing her from driving to her mother's aid.

The family says she stopped answering their calls around 9pm, and they say they found themselves in a helpless situation, with their calls to everyone from the police to the National Guard to friends unable to get them the assistance they needed. Jozwiak's body was found Sunday night. The New York Post and CNN report Anndel Taylor, 22, was another such victim. Her car became stuck in the snow just six minutes from her house during her drive home from work on Friday.

Later that day, the snow had reached the height of her windows, per images she sent her family. In her last communications with them, she said she was going to try to sleep and walk home in the morning. Her family says she'd left her car running for warmth, and they suspect she may have been killed by carbon monoxide due to her snow-covered tail pipe. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz told CNN on Monday that two-thirds of the equipment that set out to clear the roads during the worst part of the storm became stuck. The New York Times cites Poloncarz as saying three of the 27 known deaths in Erie County due to the storm occurred in a vehicle. (Read more blizzard stories.)

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