Racing to dig out cars

Erie residents dig out cars to avoid fines, towing fees

ERIE, Pa. -- A week after a historic snowstorm dumped six feet in just two days, the snow encasing two cars in the 2300 block of Parade Street was frozen solid.

The cars were within the boundaries of where snow removal operations would mean increased parking enforcement. That area stretched from East 16th to East 26th streets and from State Street to East Avenue.

City of Erie officials announced that any vehicle with snow buildup that obstructs traffic, interferes with plowing efforts, or violates even-odd parking rules, would be ticketed and towed starting Wednesday morning.

But the task of digging out has not been easy.

Elijah Ward, 16, of Erie walked by a woman as she chip away at ice and snow around one of the buried cars. It reminded him of his recent experience of shoveling out his mother’s car. 

"It was deep. It was up by her windows," he said. "The neighbors had came and helped us out. We were digging."

Fortunately, the woman, who was shoveling on Parade Street, was also about to get help. Two workers from Premier Landscaping and Snow Removal, based in Elmira, New York, offered their assistance.

"We pulled out maybe six just today; and we've been here three days and that's really all we've been doing,” said Bryan Miller.

After an hour of shoveling and pulling, Miller and his co-worker Gary Brown freed the Nissan Sentra free of charge.

"We decided to take the truck, come up here for three or four days, because we only have three or four inches of snow back home,” he said. “This is crazy."

The snow amounts are so bizarre that a Buffalo-based tow truck driver was surprised by the storm’s impact.

"We came down to help a few elderly people and it turns out that we've helped hundreds of people,” said John Tedesco, owner of Neighborhood Snow Plowing.

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