Maryland drivers rescued after being stuck in snowdrifts

Chris Perry was stranded overnight in deep snow on New Design Rd. in Adamstown, Md. without food or water until crews reached him this morning.
By Mary Pat Flaherty, Dan Morse and Michael S. Rosenwald
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, February 12, 2010

Chris Perry made it a mile down New Design Road in remote, rural Frederick County before the squalls hit Wednesday afternoon.

Winds suddenly topped 50 mph. Perry's blue Ford Explorer rocked from side to side. Three feet of snow was being whipped into an eight-foot drift on one side of the road and was creeping up around the Explorer's bumpers.

Perry could see his hood but little else in front of him. He pushed the V8 engine, shoving snow aside, backing up and then trying to muscle forward.

But he couldn't move. Perry, who was simply trying to get home from work in Poolesville, had become one of about 25 people stranded on Frederick's isolated roads when the ferocious blizzard hit hardest.

With no homes or stores nearby, Perry, 26, called his wife, Yara, about 2 p.m. on his cellphone. He assured her that he'd be okay. They got married in September. It was still daylight, he told her, and crews were still plowing. She thought he'd be fine.

He posted to his Facebook page a little later in case any of his friends were nearby and mobile: Stuck on New Design Road near Route 28, send help if you can.

He called his wife again, and as the bars on his phone dropped to one, he sent a text at 5:15 p.m. that panicked her:

"I hope something happens soon. . . . I'm below a quarter of a tank. Scott's [a friend] house is about a mile away. I may try to walk there."

Snow blocked his SUV's passenger door. Perry, 6-foot-1 and 250 pounds, pushed out the driver-side door, but "at least three feet of snow was there," and towering drifts were nearby, he said. He wasn't going anywhere.

Then he watched the single bar on his phone disappear.

Yara Perry heard nothing more. Not for an hour. Not by 2 a.m., not by dawn, as she called and called emergency workers. She said they were helpful and compassionate but constricted by the walls of snow piling up throughout the county. More than 22 inches fell in Frederick on Tuesday and Wednesday, more than twice as much as in the District.

"I was past the point of functional by midnight," said Yara Perry, also 26.

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