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Stranded Truck Drivers On I-44 Wait For Help

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The line of stranded trucks I-44 Wednesday. The line of stranded trucks I-44 Wednesday.
Mark Mahurin said he was about out of fuel. Mark Mahurin said he was about out of fuel.
Robert Hunt has already spent 16 hours stranded. Robert Hunt has already spent 16 hours stranded.

Craig Day, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- The record snowstorm is crippling travel in many places.

Many highways are either snow packed or there are just too many stranded vehicles.  It's tough on everyone, especially truck drivers stranded far away from home.

2/1/2011 Related Story: Oklahoma Road And Highway Closures

They are everywhere on just about all area highways. Big rigs bogged down in our historic snowfall.

"I'm sitting on a load for two days that I should have had done yesterday," Mark Mahurin said.

For truck drivers, time is money. Right now, time is dragging on for many of them, like Mark Mahurin. And commerce is snow-packed and stalled.

"Got here. Got stuck. I tried to dig my way out, but it's a losing cause man," he said.

It's a lost cause for hundreds of drivers. Big rigs are backed up for about a mile on I-44 East of Tulsa. Most turnpikes in the state are impassable and closed.

2/1/2011 Related Story: Snowstorm Turns I-44 Near Catoosa Into Parking Lot

Unfortunately, that is what it looks like on highways and turnpikes on much of Oklahoma. For drivers from all over the country with nowhere to go right now, it's been an ordeal.

"Well, I'm about out of fuel," Mahurin said. "And its four or five degrees, whatever it is, and they are telling me it could be anywhere from 42 to 78 hours before they get to me. I'm like man you've got to be kidding."

While some are low on fuel, others are running low on patience. When we talked to Robert Hunt, he had already spent 16 hours stranded.

"Waiting for a wrecker, I'm on a list so I'm kind of stuck, but there ain't no place to go once I do get unstuck," he said.

Part of the problem is that there are so many stranded vehicles on Oklahoma turnpikes and other highways, its hampering efforts to clear snow.  ODOT is continuing its call for motorists to stay off the roads. Drifts have topped 4 feet on some highways.

"I'm from Northern Iowa and they don't let our roads at home get this bad, this is ridiculous," Hunt said.

While crews continue efforts to clear the snow, there is very little drivers can do, but wait and try to keep warm, try to conserve fuel and hope they can get moving again soon.

"I've got an old boy, he's down in southern Texas, about 75 degrees, I told him I don't want to hear it man," Mahurin said.

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