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Thursday, January 30, 2014 - 2:10pm

For Georgia Emergency Responders, The Focus Is Getting Abandoned Cars Off The Road

Updated: 1 year ago.
Barbara Anderson talks to an emergency responder. The Georgia National Guard is helping her find her Pontiac after she abandoned it on the side of highway 285 during the Tuesday storm. (Photo: Claire Simms, GPB News)

Emergency responders have been focusing Thursday on getting abandoned cars off the road. According to the Georgia Emergency Management System (GEMA) drivers left behind more than 2,000 cars during the storm.

For Barbara Anderson, the nightmare is almost over. The Georgia National Guard is helping her find her Pontiac after she abandoned it on the side of highway 285.

“It was horrible. I still can’t get over the last two days. I couldn’t wait to get out of there,” said Anderson.

Anderson says she left her home in Stone Mountain Tuesday afternoon headed to work in Dunwoody, but she never made it.

“Never happened. Couldn’t get off the highway. I tried three exits {and was not} successful, so I decided to pull over to the corner like everyone else and stay there,” said Anderson.

Thursday, state agencies are manning two sites where drivers like Anderson can go to get help. One site is at the Westlake MARTA station off highway I-20, and another is located on the city’s Northside.

Members of the National Guard, the State Patrol and GEMA are giving people rides to their cars, jumping their batteries and filling their tanks to get things moving again.

Crystal Paulk-Buchanan works for GEMA. She says the agency wants Atlanta and the surrounding metro areas to be back in business on Friday.

“That helps people get back to their normal lives and it will get the roads back to normal because we anticipate tomorrow that folks are going back to work and every day in Atlanta is a traffic day,” said Buchanan. “ It doesn’t matter if there’s snow or not. “

Barbara Anderson is finally heading back to work Thursday after spending 17 hours trying to get there earlier this week.

While she’s grateful for all the strangers who’ve lent a helping hand, she hopes state officials will make sure things run more smoothly in the future.

“They need to learn from this and what happened in the past. Do a better job. It was horrible out there. Horrible,” said Anderson.

Drivers who left their cars on the side of the road have until about 9 p.m. Thursday night to retrieve them.

The State Patrol announced they will begin towing cars around that time to prepare for Friday’s rush hour.

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