Weather Updates

‘Terrible’: 8 hours on Lake Shore

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM

“The conditions were absolutely terrible,” said Juan S. Diaz, 29, who spent eight hours stuck on Lake Shore Drive. “I’d get out of the car for 10, 15 seconds, and the way the snow and ice were hitting your face, it was really painful.”

Diaz left his job at Perillo BMW on the Near North Side around 6:45 p.m. Tuesday to head home to Rogers Park. He figured northbound Lake Shore would be OK because there weren’t any warning signs it would be impassable.

Now, given the weather and traffic conditions he witnessed, the city “should have had people out sooner closing off those lanes,” Diaz said.

Almost immediately, Diaz’s 2010 BMW got stuck around Division Street along the Drive. His cell phones were running out of juice, too.

“There was nobody coming out to tell anybody anything,” he said of police and fire crews. “And I had to wait to hear anything about what was going on on the radio until midnight.”

The saving grace, Diaz said, were “good Samaritans” coming out of their high-rises to distribute food and water.

“At the end of the day, I saw more of them than any city personnel,” Diaz said.

Firefighters got him out of his car at 3 a.m. and took him to a CTA Red Line station. He got home around 4:20 a.m.

Diaz tried calling 311 later Wednesday morning to find out where his car had been towed, but he couldn’t get through, he said. But he heard about the locations posted on the city’s website where cars had been towed and got somebody to drive him.

Diaz couldn’t find his car at his first stop, Wilson Avenue. He spotted it on his second stop, Chicago Avenue west of Lake Shore Drive.

“I got really lucky,” he said.

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