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Friday, January 12, 2007 - Page updated at 12:01 AM

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Abandoned vehicles a tell-tale sign of last night's snow

Seattle Times staff reporter

One of the fallouts from snow storms is abandoned vehicles on roadsides. Some of the folks who did so during Wednesday's afternoon commute started coming back to retrieve them this morning.

One of the worst abandoned vehicle graveyards was along East Lake Sammamish Parkway Northeast and the Northeast Inglewood Hill Road, where more than 200 cars and trucks were left scattered along the shoulders.

Tow-truck drivers were removing the blocking vehicles as rapidly as possible –– at $154 a pop.

Nicky Beedle of Sammamish, who was helping a friend retrieve her car, recalled with amazement how quickly the storm arrived.

"It happened so fast," said Beedle, who was helping recover a gray sedan left by friend, Vickie Fisher.

"Within 15 minutes, the roads were impassable," said Beedle. "It was just mayhem." Fisher finally abandoned the sedan and walked nearly 10 miles back to her home in the north part of Redmond, said Beedle. She traipsed in the snow for about three hours to reach home.

Other drivers had similar experiences.

One was Peter Carbonaro, who this morning was going back for his car "about 20 cars down," in a long line of vehicles left alongside the parkway.

"I left Seattle at 4:30 p.m. and walked in my front door at 10:15," he said, after leaving his car and walking several miles to his house.

The experience wasn't all bad, however, he noted, and, in fact, he found that it brought the best in some people, and the worst in others, like a driver who pulled up behind a stopped car and started honking.

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"Somebody in a hurry to go no place fast," he noted, frowning over such impatience.

The night before, however, people had found a common bond in adversity, he said.

"There were literally hundreds of people walking up the hill," he said. "It was a good time.

"It was more festive than Christmas. It pulls everybody together," he said.

Thursday morning, traffic on Interstate 405, normally packed during the morning drive, instead had wide spaces between vehicles which were moving at about 40 mph, rather than the customary 60 or 70. Chained vehicles, however, click-clacked along at 20 mph or so, their chains banging against their fenders.

In Fall City, the area received a generous share of snow.

Despite the inconvenience, the snow had a certain invigorating effect on children and even adults, including Donald Peterson.

Peterson, 62, sat on his John Deere lawn tractor, with a snowplow blade on the front.

He finally did what he had hoped to do since he bought the tractor.

"It's four years coming, so I get to go out and play," he said.

Why was he outside his house plowing two blocks of public roadway?

"King County won't even plow our alleys anymore," he said.

So, added Peterson, if people want their street plowed, it's best to do it themselves.

Then he grinned.

"It makes me feel good that I have that plow," he said.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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