Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine arrives at Capitol after 27 hours trapped among hundreds in snowstorm traffic jam

Kaine was stranded with hundreds of others on Interstate 95 in Virginia.

January 04, 2022, 9:02 PM

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine tweeted Tuesday that he was among the hundreds of people trapped overnight in a miles-long traffic jam on Interstate 95 in Virginia following a multi-vehicle accident Monday afternoon.

After nearly 27 grueling hours, Kaine announced that he finally made it to the Capitol.

"I did it -- 26 hours and 45 minutes," he told ABC News after arriving. "I am beat and I am very hungry."

Kaine told ABC News he had one orange and one Dr. Pepper in the nearly 27 hours he was in the car and listened to Little Steven's Underground Garage on Sirius XM radio to stay awake

The Virginia Democrat tweeted that he'd started his usual commute to the Capitol at 1 p.m. Monday afternoon and 19 hours later, he and other Virginians were still stuck in the traffic backup following a heavy snowstorm.

"I was freezing," Kaine told ABC News. "It was about 11 or 12 degrees last night and you can't just run the car all night long sitting still or you run out of gas, which you need for the next morning, so you kind of have to run the car for 10 minutes to heat it up then turn it off for an hour and then it gets cold again."

A crash involving six tractor-trailers was first reported by the Virginia Department of Transportation at 1:30 p.m. Monday. Since then, drivers were stranded across a 48-mile stretch of highway as authorities worked to clear the traffic.

The giant traffic jam came amid a snowstorm that shut down much of the Washington area, creating hazardous travel conditions.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tweeted Tuesday morning that his team has worked throughout the night to respond. An emergency message has been sent out to drivers trying to connect them with assistance.

VDOT said on Twitter that Interstate 95 remained shut down and "travel is expected to remain hazardous for most of the day." There were no more drivers stranded by Tuesday afternoon, but crews were still working to remove empty vehicles so plows could come through.

PHOTO: Sen. Tim Kaine speaks during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Sept. 28, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
Sen. Tim Kaine speaks during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Sept. 28, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
Patrick Semansky/Pool via AFP/Getty Images

In an interview with a local Washington TV station Tuesday morning, Northam was pressed over a lack of preparedness for the storm and potential driving hazards.

"It's one step at a time and, you know, what happened after midnight is we just turned into a, literally a skating rink and trucks were jackknifing," Northam told Fox 5 DC. "And once that happens -- once you get the backup -- it's very, very difficult to get in our resources and get our equipment in. So, we're just we're going from both ends, as fast as we can, and doing everything that we can."

PHOTO: Traffic along a closed section of Interstate 95 near Fredericksburg, Va., in the early hours of Jan. 4, 2022, after both northbound and southbound sections of the highway were closed due to snow and ice.
Traffic along a closed section of Interstate 95 near Fredericksburg, Va., in the early hours of Jan. 4, 2022, after both northbound and southbound sections of the highway were closed due to snow and ice.
Virginia Dept. of Transportation via AP

The National Guard had been on standby to potentially assist, but Northam said the problem was getting available resources where they need to go.

Interstate 95 was reopened in Virginia at about 9 p.m. Tuesday, though Northam warned drivers about new dangerously icy conditions moving into the area at the same time.

ABC News' Davone Morales and Libby Cathey contributed to this report.

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