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Social media finds good Samaritans for stranded motorists

By Brandon Evans | Published Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The clicking of keys in a remote location brought solace to a pair of travelers stranded in a frozen sea of cars.

Michael and Carol Reddin found themselves trapped among the hundreds of motorists stranded on U.S. 287 between Rhome and the Tarrant County line this weekend. With no escape or access to food or water, the couple was forced to shelter from the sub-freezing temperatures inside their vehicle.

The older couple had recently visited their daughter Heather Patterson in Georgia. They were on their way to visit another daughter, Vanessa Hunt, in Oregon, when they unexpectedly got caught in the worst traffic jam in Wise County history.

“They were trapped in their truck for more than 20 hours,” Hunt said. “They had no food or water and barely any fuel left. There were families in cars all around them in the same condition. People tried to get out, and they slipped and fell. They were trapped.”

Hunt and Patterson started a blog a few years ago called At the Picket Fence. It mainly features homemaking ideas, crafts, decorating tips, holiday ideas and recipes. It’s grown popular. Its Facebook page has more than 85,000 followers, and when the sisters found out their parents where in trouble, they posted their plight on their Facebook page.

“On our Facebook page we posted and requested for people to be praying for our parents,” Hunt said. “People started sharing our story. Eventually someone who lived in the area saw it. They got some food and water together and loaded it in their truck. Then they located where my parents were and delivered them food, water and some gas. It was a huge help. They were there for about 25 hours, and that was the only people they ever saw.

“That couple took the time to locate my parents and bring them some help. It was a miracle. (My parents) were overwhelmed. They were so grateful.”

After getting stuck about noon Saturday, they were finally able to move early Sunday afternoon.

“It’s just amazing to see the power of social media,” Hunt said. “We were overwhelmed and humbled people would do all this for strangers.”

She added that the dispatchers at the Wise County Sheriff’s Office were also helpful during their parents’ ordeal.

“The sheriff’s office was incredibly helpful in trying to give us as much information as possible,” Hunt said. “I think they knew my sister on a first-name basis before it was over.”

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