Filed under: General
Multiple accidents involving as many as 100 vehicles closed the Pennsylvania Turnpike I-276 between Routes 611 and Route 1 in Bucks County for several hours last Friday. Jennifer Shinberg, an ASI employee, was one of the many people caught in the middle of it all. She shares with us her experience of being stuck in traffic for six hours with her 22-month-old son Tommy, and how she went from feeling panicked to relief after seeing the community come together to help.
Q: How did your day start?
JS: I was on my way to work at ASI with my son, Tommy, where he attends day care. There was snow overnight but the speed restrictions on the turnpike were lifted so I assumed the roads were fine. Once I was on the roads I quickly realized they were terrible. Everyone was going slow but all of a sudden I heard a noise and then all the cars started to stop. We just thought it was traffic but after about 40 minutes we heard the sirens.
Q: How did you feel once you realized the severity of the situation?
JS: The first thing that went through my mind was I need to feed Tommy. I had packed some snacks for the day so I gave him those. But then the worry started to kick in that I don’t have water for him and I don’t have a diaper for him. I was trying to figure out what I was going to do. As time went on I was getting more worried about him.
Q: How did the community come together during this time?
JS: After a while everyone started to get out of their cars and walk around. At this point strangers were helping each other and seeing if anyone needed anything. There were even people in the neighborhood buying food at the stores and coming down the side of the overpass and giving it out. One woman noticed me and my son and offered us a yogurt and some water. Three hours later, a fireman knocked on my window and offered me water. I asked him if he had diapers and he went asking around for some. Another guy came over to me with a bag and gave me diapers and changing pads. I was so thankful I could have cried. I knew at that point we would be okay. It was great to see the community come together. We all just took it in stride and everyone just helped everyone out.
Q: What have you learned from this experience?
JS: I am just so thankful my son was okay. I am definitely more prepared now. If you look in the back of the car now you will find a container with diapers, wipes, water, snacks and a change of clothes for Tommy.
– Interview by Lauren Medina