Last Monday (Jan. 3, 2022), drivers in Virginia were left stranded after more than 12 inches of snow covered the roads across the state. During the whiteout, one driver abandoned their car on the highway after it broke down and tried to walk to safety — with fatal results.
According to The New York Times, Jacob Whaley told his family that he planned to walk from his stranded car in Hanover County, Virginia to his home in the neighboring Louisa County, VA.
Whaley’s family last heard from him at 8:45pm on Monday, when he warned them that he was lost. The family then told the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office that Whaley was in trouble near Greene’s Corner Road, VA.
Responders initially searched the area but found no trace of the 34-year-old.
Then, on Thursday (Jan. 6, 2022), members of the public and representatives of the Sheriff’s Office launched a second search. The search uncovered Whaley’s body in a “very dense pine plantation,” just over 200 yards from Greene’s Corner Road.
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The New York Times report said:
“‘This was a very heavily wooded area off the road that the search team had a hard time getting through,’ Maj. Ronnie Roberts, chief deputy for the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office, said in an email on Saturday. ‘Our county had 100 percent power outage and impassable roads’.”
Now, Whaley’s family have criticized the efforts of the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office.
According to local news station ABC 8 News, Whaley’s family said they were frustrated with the Sheriff’s Office for its lackluster response to his disappearance. They believed more should have been done to help Whaley.
According to the news site:
“‘Louisa County let him freeze to death,’ said Jacob’s sister, Angela Whaley.
“She said the search party came out to help and do what the sheriff’s office didn’t do, and added that she was in shock and devastated over her brother’s death. ‘Because of their refusal to do their jobs my parents have to bury another kid,’ she said.”
Whaley was one of thousands of drivers stranded across Virginia as snowstorms hit the state on Monday. Drivers on the Interstate-95 highway were stuck for more than 15 hours as recovery vehicles tried to clear the road.