Richard Ebbrecht left his Brooklyn chiropractic office around 3 p.m. for his home in Middle Island, about 60 miles away, calculating that he could make the drive home before the worst of the blizzard set in. He was wrong.
As the snow came rushing down faster than he'd foreseen, he got stuck six or seven times on the expressway and on other roads. Drivers began helping each other shovel and push, he said, but to no avail. He finally gave up and spent the night in his car on a local thoroughfare, only about two miles from his home.
"I could run my car and keep the heat on and listen to the radio a little bit," he said.
He walked home around at 8 a.m., leaving his car.
Late-shifters including Wayne Jingo had little choice but to risk it if they wanted to get home. By early afternoon, he'd been stuck in his pickup truck alongside the Long Island Expressway for nearly 12 hours.
He'd left his job around midnight as a postal worker at Kennedy Airport and headed home to Medford, about 50 miles east. He was at an exit in Ronkonkoma — almost home — around 1:45 a.m. when another driver came barreling at him westbound, the wrong way, he said. Jingo swerved to avoid the oncoming car, missed the exit and ended up stuck on the highway's grass shoulder.
He rocked the truck back and forth to try to free it, but it only sank down deeper into the snow and shredded one of his tires. He called 911. A police officer came by at 9:30 a.m. and said he would send a tow truck.
At 1 p.m. Saturday, Jingo was still waiting.
"I would have been fine if I didn't have to swerve," he said.
In Middle Island, a Wal-Mart remained unofficially open long past midnight to accommodate more than two dozen motorists who were stranded on nearby roads.
"We're here to mind the store, but we can't let people freeze out there," manager Jerry Greek told Newsday.