Mountain communities on day 12 digging out as drivers get stuck for days, roofs of homes collapse

Monday, March 6, 2023
Mountain communities still digging out as drivers get stuck for days
Residents living in the San Bernardino Mountains have been digging themselves out of snow for more than 11 days.

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- Residents of the San Bernardino mountain communities in "survival mode," as they are still digging themselves out from the historic snowfall that left homes completely submerged and roads undrivable.

With now more than 80% of county roads passable - albeit with one lane plowed for both sides of traffic in many cases - the struggle for residents is still digging themselves out and getting needed food and medicine.

But even if someone is able to leave their homes, they are getting stuck down mountain as California Highway Patrol is preventing people from driving back up to their homes after they drove down for food or medicine.

CHP is limiting access to the highways for safety, but only emergency crews and food trucks have been allowed up the mountain to deliver needed supplies. CHP has not provided a timeline for when the highways will reopen.

"It sucks it really sucks. I just want to get to my house. It's awful. I have been here three years and I have never seen anything like this it's horrible I am just trying to get some snow off my roof," said Eddie Loya of Crestline.

Tim Cook of Crestline also drove down the mountain for supplies, only to be prevented from driving back to his home due to the highway closures.

"I have pets up there that haven't been able to feed and bring water to them for days," said Cook. "It's incredibly beautiful, it's incredibly dangerous. It's definitely a lot of snow. But by saying that people have pets, people need medicine."

Erin Carranca was one of the residents who drove down to get medicine for her son, who has a chronic condition.

Residents living in the San Bernardino Mountains have been digging themselves out of snow for more than 11 days, in some cases going without medicine and food supplies, as the shoveling continues into Monday.

"I've been here for two days. Sleeping in my car. Trying to get up," said Carranca Sunday night.

Carranca said she has not heard from her son and the local fire department has not done a wellness check on her son, despite her calls to do so.

"I called the fire department and they said they would check on him but it's been two days. They haven't checked yet," said Carranca.

With many frustrated with the disfunction on the roads, there are still many mountain residents who cannot get out of their homes due to the high levels of snow.

Drew Adzovich of Running Springs said he has been shoveling himself out for 11 days and is still stuck at home.

"I've been putting myself out, putting in like three to four hours a day. That's not the best thing I would say," said Adzovich.

Adzovich said he hopes to be able to be out by Monday. And when he is free, he said he will be able to help neighbors also struggling in the snow.

One resident of the mountain communities who has needed help is Patricia Derleth of Crestline, who said she had guys shoveling snow off her roof for hours on Saturday.

"Oh, it's definitely survival mode," said Derleth. "I had guys on my roof yesterday for 5 1/2 hours shoveling off 3 1/2 feet of snow."

In another scene, the roof of a nearby mobile home collapsed under the snow. A reality that increases anxiety more at a time when many are still trapped.

With many still struggling, the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department has been answering calls for service around-the-clock. On Sunday, the department rescued 22 people and took them to area shelters.

The county has set up five distribution centers for food, but they are only open for as long as long as supplies last.

The county is accepting donations to help fill their distribution centers. Those looking to help can do so here.