Members of the Temple women’s gymnastics team are among those stuck on the Pennsylvania Turnpike due to the big winter storm – but their coach says they’re doing fine.
Umme Salim-Beasley says the team’s bus has been stuck since Friday night about 80 miles from Pittsburgh. She says they left Philadelphia at about 2 p.m. Friday to try to beat the storm but ran into traffic.
The Duquesne men’s basketball team is also stuck on the Turnpike.
Salim-Beasley says her team’s provisions are holding out. Fire department personnel brought them water – and they usually travel with a large amount of snacks “so those came in handy.”
Turnpike officials say some pockets of stranded motorists stretch back 2 or 3 miles. The National Guard has been mobilized to help and first responders are using ATVs to reach stuck motorists.
Duquesne University’s men’s basketball team was stuck overnight on the snow-closed Pennsylvania Turnpike as traffic stoppages stretched back miles in a massive snowstorm climbing up the East Coast.
Coach Jim Ferry said the team bus got stuck around 9:15 p.m. on Friday and hadn’t moved since.
“We haven’t moved one inch in 12 hours,” he said Saturday morning.
Ferry said his players are running out of the leftover pizza they bought on the way home from an 86-75 win over George Mason on Friday.
“We’re getting pretty hungry,” he said. “We hope it starts moving pretty soon.”
Pockets of motorists were stuck in the westbound lanes of the turnpike south of Pittsburgh, Turnpike spokesman Carl DeFebo said. Some of those pockets stretch two or three miles.
Ferry said his players have remained in good spirts, passing the time with jokes and watching movies such as “Invincible.”
“But you got to remember we have some big guys, so it’s hard to sleep on a bus like this,” the coach said.
The team sped out of Fairfax, Virginia, on Friday afternoon, escaping the storm’s bullseye only to become stranded in Western Pennsylvania.
“We played the game. We won. We got on the bus. We were making great time,” Ferry said.
Saturday was supposed to be on an off day for the team, with their practice regimen resuming on Sunday before the next game on Tuesday. But the plan will likely change, Ferry said.
“We just got to get these guys home and get them stretched out and get them some food,” he said. “Right now we’re worried about the kids.”