KINGMAN - The Arizona Department of Transportation closed a 50-mile section of Interstate 40 from Seligman to the U.S. 93 interchange in Kingman in both directions Wednesday night after a winter storm dumped as much as a foot of snow and caused several vehicles to slide off the highway.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety reported numerous vehicles, including multiple semi-trucks, were stuck on the closed route and had to be helped off of the highway one by one.
One of those drivers, Guy Fichtelman, was headed to Kingman from Colorado Springs when traffic narrowed to one lane before coming to a complete standstill around the Fort Rock exit sometime after 7 p.m. Wednesday.
He said some cars had tried going around the stopped traffic by creating new paths in the snow, but they, too, were forced to stop when they could go no further.
Fichtelman and his 13-year-old son were coming to Kingman to go camping and so were equipped with what they needed to make it through the night. He kept the car on overnight and had luckily stopped in Winslow to fill up and had plenty of gas.
Fichtelman said traffic was backed up as far as he could see, but that the motorists around him took the delay in stride. Manydrivers turned up their radios and sang out loud while a group of Japanese tourists became part of the wintry scene by frolicking in the snow as another several inches fell.
"You'd swear they were kids, making snowballs and snowmen," he said.
Fichtelman and his son's adventure lasted around 17 hours until the line of big rigs and cars started to move again around noon.
Other traffic was re-routed along Route 66 until ADOT crews could get the highway cleared.
Fichtelman said he bears no ill will to road crews.
"I have no idea what they were dealing with so I can't complain," he said.