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Plow traps dialysis patient behind three-foot-tall wall of snow

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CAROLINE COUNTY, Va. -- While VDOT crews and plowing contractors throughout Central Virginia worked around the clock to clear roadways after this weekend’s massive snowstorm, some people found themselves suffering the unintended consequences of all the hard work. Massive snow embankments, created by trucks plowing the roads have blocked driveways and entrances -- trapping some people on their own property .

Ronnie Davis, 72, and his wife said up until Monday night, a three-foot wall of snow blocked their Caroline County driveway. Davis had not received dialysis treatment for a kidney condition since last Wednesday, and was beginning to worry that he wouldn’t make it to treatment on Tuesday.

Ronnie Davis and

Ronnie and Vincenza Davis

“It works on your mind some kind of way,” Davis said.

Vincenza Davis said she planned to call the fire department for help, until a neighbor offered to plow the driveway. Earlier in the day, Davis said she pleaded with a VDOT contractor to clear a path to the street.

“He needs dialysis,” Davis said.  “He will die, what if his lungs fill up?”

While the contractor sympathized with Davis’ situation, he argued it was against policy and he could get fired for plowing private property.

Snow wall

Snow wall

In Henrico County, Jan and Jerry Goldberg found themselves in a similar predicament.   Over the weekend, high snow embankments caused by plows, blocked both entrances to the Cross Ridge Retirement Community, where the Goldberg’s have a home.

“All I could think of was Uh-Oh, what if somebody in the community really had an emergency,” Goldberg said.  “Even to try to plow through that, by the time they did it and got to that person, it could be a very serious thing.”

While VDOT said crews tried to avoid plowing snow into driveways and entrances,  a spokesperson said it was a difficult situation given the magnitude of the storm and VDOT’s mission to make roads passable.  More than a foot of snow fell in the region over a two-day period.

On Monday, VDOT released an informational video to assist the public with best ways to shovel and prevent additional shoveling as crews make their way through neighborhoods.  VDOT says clearing a 10-foot space to the left of your driveway, will prevent plows from creating mounds of snow.

While the Davis’ said they were unaware of what they could have been done to prevent their predicament, the family was grateful to neighbor, Troy Williams, who spent Monday evening clearing the driveway.

“I’m going to make him the biggest three-layer cake that you’ve ever seen,” laughed Vincenza Davis.

“She can definitely cook,” added her husband.