Google Maps shortcut in Colorado turns into 'muddy mess' with 'a hundred cars'

A Google Maps shortcut turned into a "muddy mess" for dozens of drivers.

June 26, 2019, 8:53 AM

A shortcut to the Denver International Airport turned into a "muddy mess" on Sunday for dozens of drivers who were following directions from Google Maps.

Connie Monsees of Highlands Ranch, Colorado, was on her way to pick up her husband when she hit a traffic jam on Pena Boulevard. She pulled out her phone and used the app to find an alternate route that would get her to the airport in half the time, but didn't realize how off-road she would be.

"It eventually took me to a road that...became dirt," Monsees said on ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. "I was not the only one, there was probably a hundred cars out there."

The route was "a muddy mess of a field," she said, because it had been raining all weekend, and cars were getting stuck in ditches slick from Colorado's clay soil.

As Monsees bypassed some of the really slippery spots with her all-wheel drive, other people started asking her for a lift.

Dozens of Colorado drivers who followed a Google Maps detour found themselves in a muddy traffic jam on June 23, 2019.
Connie Monsees

"This man walked by my car and said, 'Are you going to the airport?' And I said, 'I am,'" she recounted to the podcast. "He got in the car with me because the car he was in was not going to make it."

After picking up an Uber passenger who was also hoping to catch a flight, Monsees eventually emerged from the mud and got back on pavement, "We made it out and they both made their flights. It was just incredible though."

Although the ride took her three and a half hours, when normally she said it would take about an hour and a half round-trip, Monsees doesn't blame Google, "They, as far as they knew, they took us to a good spot. But I think as a society we…are too wrapped up in trying to just do things quick."

"We take many factors into account when determining driving routes, including the size of the road and the directness of the route," a Google spokesperson said in a statement to ABC News. "While we always work to provide the best directions, issues can arise due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather. We encourage all drivers to follow local laws, stay attentive, and use their best judgement while driving."

This story is featured in Wednesday's edition of ABC News' "Start Here" podcast.

"Start Here" is a daily ABC News podcast hosted by Brad Mielke featuring original reporting on stories that are driving the national conversation. Listen for FREE on the ABC News app, Apple Podcasts, TuneIn, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play Music, or iHeartRadio. Ask Alexa: Play Start Here, or add the "Start Here" skill to your Flash Briefing.

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