Stranded in a snow bank, her blue Chevy Cobalt buried under several feet of ice, Karen Rossi feared the worst as she huddled in her car in freezing temperatures.
So as the hours slipped away, the Lancaster, New York, pharmacy technician penned farewell letters to her two daughters, thinking no one would find her before it was too late as a record-setting, 6-foot snowfall buried the region.
“It felt like I was underground, buried in a casket,” Rossi told the Buffalo News of her harrowing ordeal.
“It was surreal. It was just silent for hours. Nobody came. And my phone had died. I couldn’t charge it because I’d taken my daughter’s car to work,” Rossi, 47, told the News, noting she’d left the hospital where she’d worked an extra shift at 3 a.m., driving right into the freak snowfall’s path.
After being buried further by a snowplow and fearing help was not on the way, she tried to dig out to clear her tail pipe as her gas supply dwindled. She got one cell phone message off to her daughter, who urged her to make sure it was open amid fears of carbon monoxide poisoning from running the engine to stay warm.
Unable to open her door, Rossi said she rolled down a window and cleared a path with a sweatshirt, digging frantically for daylight. Later, as the hours passed, she made one last-ditch effort to save herself, digging out again with the shirt and a red snow brush.
She finally found an opening and waved and waved for help – to no avail – forcing her back into her car. Wet, exhausted and frightened, she began goodbye messages to her girls on scraps of paper found in her purse.
Finally, when she crawled out one last time to wave for help, good Samaritan Dave Edwards saw her. Edwards was driving a large black truck, also trying to get home from work.
“I see you, I’m going to get you out,” he assured her. “I have a shovel.”
The adrenaline rushed as Rossi realized she would not die on a roadside in the cold. Edwards later took her to his own home to help her warm up and get dry. He also stopped to help others who were stuck along the way.
“I was disoriented and soaking wet and freezing cold. He stayed with me and he talked with me,” Rossi told the News. “I kept realizing he didn’t have to do any of this stuff, but he was just an amazing person. I’m so thankful that God sent him.”