Multiple agencies rescue hundreds of stranded drivers

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The Colorado National Guard worked into the overnight hours rescuing hundreds of motorists stranded due to the March 13 blizzard.

Gov. Jared Polis activated the guard at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday following reports of drivers marooned in multiple counties.

As of 10 a.m. Thursday, troops had rescued 93 people and two dogs from roadways in El Paso, Denver, Elbert and Arapahoe counties and checked 250 vehicles.

High winds caused major visibility problems even in areas without significant snowfall. Major roadways began closing one by one Wednesday morning, leaving many drivers abruptly trapped.

Even on roads that didn't shut down, some drivers were forced to abandon their vehicles.

"The drive was pretty good up until I got to this hill. I didn’t have any trouble slipping, but everyone around me was. So then eventually I just had to call it quits and like walk to the gas station," said UCCS student Alyssa Archut, who got stuck on Austin Bluffs Parkway by Stetson Hills Boulevard.

"At first I wasn't concerned -- I've driven in snow before -- and then it just kept getting worse and worse. The whiteout conditions were just completely obscuring my view. The roads were a little slick but I was able to drive OK. I was seeing cars stopped in the middle of the road and pulled off to the side," said driver Michael Ireland of the vehicles he was seeing on the sides of the road.

Some people out and about found 10-minute errands turning into hours-long ordeals.

"It was snowing a little bit this morning. Came out to get a phone card really quick and I can't get home. Can't get out of the parking spot," Josh Deloach said.

National Guard wasn't alone in rescue efforts: Colorado Springs police officers worked overnight checking cars left on city roads. A lieutenant told 11 News that none of the cars will be impounded; all vehicles were moved to the side of the road to allow plows space to get through, and checked to make certain no one was left inside. Crime tape was left on each vehicle as a marker for officers to know that vehicle had been looked over.

El Paso County Search and Rescue, city and volunteer fire departments, and even Colorado Parks and Wildlife jumped in to help.