Buffalo woman dies in her car after getting trapped for 18 hours while driving home from work

A 22-year-old woman has tragically frozen to death after spending 18 hours in her car while trying to wait out a historic snowstorm currently devastating Buffalo.

Anndel Taylor died over the weekend after her vehicle was stranded in snow Friday afternoon on her way home from work. She is just one of 35 who have succumbed to frigid conditions currently being seen in New York’s second-largest city.

The death toll was released in a statement by officials Monday, who announced that Taylor was one of three motorists found dead in a car, defiantly taking to the road despite a ban on personal road travel that remains in effect.

It was stated that Taylor sent a video to her family before she died and was trapped in her vehicle for 18 hours, as more than 50 inches of snow surrounded her. 

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Anndel Taylor died over the weekend after her car was stranded in snow on her way home from work - one of three motorists who defiantly took to the road despite bans on road travel

Anndel Taylor died over the weekend after her car was stranded in snow on her way home from work – one of three motorists who defiantly took to the road despite bans on road travel 

A still from the final video Tailor left to her family can bee seen here, recorded as she was trapped in her vehicle for 18 hours, and more than 50 inches of snow surrounded her vehicle

A still from the final video Tailor left to her family can bee seen here, recorded as she was trapped in her vehicle for 18 hours, and more than 50 inches of snow surrounded her vehicle

Officials are warning that more corpses could still be found as they forecast a further foot of snow, as the storm – called a ‘once in a lifetime’ weather disaster by the city’s governor – continues to rage. 

In their statement, orifical revealed the extent of the storm in the Buffalo and Erie County regions, and its still rising death toll. Buffalo bore the brunt of the blizzard, which started Friday and has slammed states from Montana to New York.

Officials described the blizzard as ‘the worst storm probably in our lifetime’, and further warned: ‘This is not the end yet.’ 

‘We’ve had so many bodies that various hospitals are full, ‘Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said. ‘We’re just having to go through and determine if the individuals have died from a blizzard-related death.’

Later Monday, Governor Kathy Hochul granted Poloncarz’s and other officials’ calls to declare a statewide state of emergency in New York – as reports of blizzard-related deaths continue to rise. As of Tuesday, the number of people dead is totaling nearly 70.

Officials are warning that more corpses could be found as officials forecast a further foot of snow, as the storm - tabbed a 'once in a lifetime' disaster by the city - continues to rage

Officials are warning that more corpses could be found as officials forecast a further foot of snow, as the storm – tabbed a ‘once in a lifetime’ disaster by the city – continues to rage

Taylor sent her family a final video from inside her car the day before she was discovered dead from what her mother said was carbon monoxide poisoning, rather than hypothermia. 

It showed her car stuck in snow while a frightening wind howled outside just after midnight on Saturday. 

The video sparked desperate pleas from her friends and family who begged strangers – from states away – to help locate their missing loved one. She was eventually found sometime after Saturday afternoon. The exact date and time is unknown. 

Taylor, who was born in Buffalo but raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, moved back to New York earlier this year to take care of her father. 

The 22-year-old’s mom and sister spoke with WCOS in North Carolina about the agony of receiving the terrifying video and the waiting afterwards. 

In a family group chat, Taylor told her family members she was stuck in the snow while driving home from work and the precipitation was coming down fast. 

The 16 second video showed Taylor rolling down the snow-covered window to display a wintry landscape. 

A general view of snow covered vehicles in Buffalo following the winter storm that has rocked the United States

A general view of snow covered vehicles in Buffalo following the winter storm that has rocked the United States

‘She was telling my sister that she was scared,’ said Shawnequa Brown, Taylor’s sister. 

The camera pans out over the scene which features several feet of snow under the car and another stranded vehicle just across the way. 

All the while the snow and cold whips through the air in the otherwise silence of the night. 

Her family told local media in Charlotte they did not know the extent what western New York was going to experience.  

‘I don’t know if any of us really knew how serious it was, we didn’t see the news, we didn’t really know what was going on in Buffalo,’ said Brown. 

As of Tuesday morning, 35 deaths across Erie County, the county where Buffalo is located, have been confirmed. 

In total, nationwide, around 70 people have died in weather-related incidents during the historic ‘once in a lifetime’ storm. 

Taylor's sister posted this message to Facebook on Christmas Eve, nearly 24 hours after she first was stranded in the storm

Taylor’s sister posted this message to Facebook on Christmas Eve, nearly 24 hours after she first was stranded in the storm

In a family group chat, Taylor told her family members she was stuck in the snow while driving home from work and the precipitation was coming down fast

In a family group chat, Taylor told her family members she was stuck in the snow while driving home from work and the precipitation was coming down fast

'She was telling my sister that she was scared,' said Shawnequa Brown, Taylor's sister

‘She was telling my sister that she was scared,’ said Shawnequa Brown, Taylor’s sister

'I don't know if any of us really knew how serious it was, we didn't see the news, we didn't really know what was going on in Buffalo,' said Shawnequa in an interview with WCOS

‘I don’t know if any of us really knew how serious it was, we didn’t see the news, we didn’t really know what was going on in Buffalo,’ said Shawnequa in an interview with WCOS

Anndel Taylor, 22, died over the weekend after her car was stranded in the snow while driving home from work

Anndel Taylor, 22, died over the weekend after her car was stranded in the snow while driving home from work

Taylor’s family said she had called 911 and was waiting for first responders who couldn’t reach her when she sent the video. 

Wanda Brown Steele, Taylor’s mother, told WCOS her daughter was planning to sleep out the storm in her vehicle before walking home the next day. 

Just hours later, however, Taylor was found dead inside her vehicle. 

Her family said they believe she may have been stuck for 18 hours before her body was discovered. 

Taylor’s other sister, Tomeshia Brown, said some people had tried to rescue her and her vehicle but attempts were futile.  

‘I feel like everybody that tried to get to her got stuck. Fire department, police, everybody got stuck,’ said Tomeshia. 

‘Why didn’t they have chains on their tires? This is a state that is known for snow,’ the sister continued. 

Buffalo was pounded by snow over the holiday weekend as more than four feet of precipitation came down in the western New York county

Buffalo was pounded by snow over the holiday weekend as more than four feet of precipitation came down in the western New York county 

An aerial view of buildings during the blizzard in Buffalo, which has so far killed at least 70 people across the United States

An aerial view of buildings during the blizzard in Buffalo, which has so far killed at least 70 people across the United States

Police and residents were seen Monday attempting to shovel out cars almost completely covered in heavy snow

Police and residents were seen Monday attempting to shovel out cars almost completely covered in heavy snow 

Nearly 50 inches of snow fell in Buffalo over the holiday weekend, according to the National Weather Service

Nearly 50 inches of snow fell in Buffalo over the holiday weekend, according to the National Weather Service 

Thousands throughout Erie County were stranded both in and out of their homes during the storm. A state of emergency is in effect

Thousands throughout Erie County were stranded both in and out of their homes during the storm. A state of emergency is in effect

Wanda Brown Steele, Taylor's mother, told WCOS her daughter was planning to sleep out the storm in her vehicle before walking home the next day

Wanda Brown Steele, Taylor’s mother, told WCOS her daughter was planning to sleep out the storm in her vehicle before walking home the next day

Local law enforcement officials have yet to confirm Taylor as one of the victims of the storm, nor has her cause of death been released. 

Taylor’s family worked desperately in the hours after she sent the video to try and find her, posting to social media pages and asking friends to spread the word. 

Tomeshia posted on December 24: ‘My Sister Got Caught In A blizzard in Buffalo at 2pm yesterday. She was still stuck at 11pm lastnight !!!! Now she’s Lost under The snow And No one can find her ! I got this pain In my stomach.’ 

Another loved one said they attempted to get the help of police and EMS to go out to the location she was last known to be. 

‘Anndel Taylor baby girl we fought to find you all day…we sent out wellness checks and all and police said it was nothing they could do we been trying to get people to get to her all day the plows buried her in her car and all without checking the car.’

The young woman’s family believe she may have died from carbon monoxide poisoning, rather than hypothermia. 

‘The car was running, and the snow was still coming, so it blocked the pipes, the exhaust pipe,’ Steele said. ‘Then after the car cut off, that’s when she iced up.’

Now the family is left to deal with the tragic loss during the holiday season. 

‘A lot of crying, (she) still got presents under the tree,’ Shawnequa said.

Taylor would have turned 23 in January. 

Taylor had been born in Buffalo but raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. She was found dead in her car after getting trapped amid the deadly blizzard

Taylor had been born in Buffalo but raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. She was found dead in her car after getting trapped amid the deadly blizzard

A GoFundMe set up for the family to bring Taylor home to Charlotte and pay for funeral expenses has since been flooded with comments from those who knew and loved her

A GoFundMe set up for the family to bring Taylor home to Charlotte and pay for funeral expenses has since been flooded with comments from those who knew and loved her

Across New York state, authorities have scrambled to address the ferocious conditions wrought by the ongoing storm, after the National Weather Service said Monday that up to twelve more inches of snow could fall in some areas

Across New York state, authorities have scrambled to address the ferocious conditions wrought by the ongoing storm, after the National Weather Service said Monday that up to twelve more inches of snow could fall in some areas

A man takes photos of a house completely covered in ice in after heavy snow fall and conditions that have killed at least 70

A man takes photos of a house completely covered in ice in after heavy snow fall and conditions that have killed at least 70

A car abandoned along Southwestern Boulevard, West Seneca, New York, which has seen up to four feet of snowfall

A car abandoned along Southwestern Boulevard, West Seneca, New York, which has seen up to four feet of snowfall

A GoFundMe set up for the family to bring Taylor home to Charlotte and pay for funeral expenses has since been flooded with comments from those who knew and loved her and even those who didn’t. 

‘Anndel was one of my former students. Her light shined strong and my prayers are with her family during this difficult time. Anndel, rest in peace you sweet girl,’ a woman wrote on a GoFundMe page.  

‘I’m so sorry for your loss, heartbroken for your family. Sending love from Buffalo, we’re all neighbors here,’ wrote one person. 

‘My mom worked along side her. We lift you up during this time of tragedy,’ said another. 

As of Monday evening, the fundraiser has brought in just over $8,000 of its $10,000 goal.  

Meanwhile, across New York state, authorities have scrambled to address the ferocious conditions wrought by the ongoing storm, after the National Weather Service said Monday that up to twelve more inches of snow could fall in some areas.

After declaring a state of emergency Saturday, Governor Hochul deployed 220 National Guard soldiers to the Western New York region, bolstering an already 210-storng force.

With the response expected to persists throughout the week, officials are continuing to urge New Yorkers to avoid travel in impacted areas in Erie County, as well as in areas north experiencing similar conditions. 

Abandoned vehicles line the street after historic snowfall in Buffalo. It's believed that in the coming days, the death toll may rise because of the horrific weather conditions

Abandoned vehicles line the street after historic snowfall in Buffalo. It’s believed that in the coming days, the death toll may rise because of the horrific weather conditions 

Utility trucks line up in Buffalo to attempt to regain power after historic heavy snow caused outages

Utility trucks line up in Buffalo to attempt to regain power after historic heavy snow caused outages

Dave and Rowan Garry clear their driveway in Buffalo, as heavy snow has left people trapped in their cars

Dave and Rowan Garry clear their driveway in Buffalo, as heavy snow has left people trapped in their cars

Buffalo mayor Byron Brown described the heartbreaking task of retrieving storm victims from cars, homes and streets.

‘Our police officers are human. It is painful to find members of your community that are deceased,’ the mayor said, adding the blizzard’s victims ‘were trying to walk out during storm conditions, got disoriented and passed away out in the street’. 

Erie County, New York, executive Mark Poloncarz described the blizzard as ‘the worst storm probably in our lifetime’ and warned there may be more dead.

Some people, he noted, were stranded in their cars for more than two days.

‘It’s just a horrible situation that we can see sort of the light at the end of the tunnel. But this is not the end yet,’ he said on Monday.

Poloncarz tweeted that 14 people in the county had died of exposure, three people were found in their vehicles, four had no heat, three were from shoveling/(snow) blowing cardiac events, and three people passed away after EMS services were delayed. 

Roadways remained littered with cars, buses, ambulances, tow trucks and even plows buried beneath towering drifts, complicating efforts to clear snow-blanketed streets and reach stranded residents in need of medical care. Authorities deployed high-lift tractors as hospital transports.

Despite a ban on personal road travel that remained in effect on Monday, hundreds of motorists had to be rescued from their vehicles over the weekend

National Guard members and other teams have rescued hundreds of people from snow-covered cars and homes without electricity, but authorities have said more people remain trapped. 

Of the 35 people killed in Erie County, three were found dead inside a vehicle, according to county executive Poloncarz. 

Snow piled up in Erie County, New York, home to Buffalo. More than four feet of snow had fallen by Monday evening. The storm - described as the worst in history by the city's governor is expected to persist Tuesday

Snow piled up in Erie County, New York, home to Buffalo. More than four feet of snow had fallen by Monday evening. The storm – described as the worst in history by the city’s governor is expected to persist Tuesday

The executive released a breakdown of the deaths to Twitter Monday afternoon before sharing with CNN that he expects the death toll to rise.

Of the 14 who died of exposure, four people had no heat, three were from snow shoveling and snow blowing cardiac events, and three people died while awaiting delayed EMS services.   

‘I am aware of additional bodies that have been recovered and are being brought to our temporary morgue,’ Poloncarz told The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer Monday.

‘We’ve had so many bodies that various hospitals are full and we’re just having to go through and determine if the individuals have died from a blizzard-related death,’ the Erie County executive said.

Buffalo's snowfall total for all of the 2022-2023 season is less than three inches away from the total normal seasonal snow for the area as of Sunday evening

Buffalo’s snowfall total for all of the 2022-2023 season is less than three inches away from the total normal seasonal snow for the area as of Sunday evening

A drone image shows the deep freeze in Cheektowaga, New York, covered in a blanket of snow

A drone image shows the deep freeze in Cheektowaga, New York, covered in a blanket of snow

Millions of people hunkered down against a deep freeze Sunday morning to ride out the frigid storm

Millions of people hunkered down against a deep freeze Sunday morning to ride out the frigid storm

On Monday, local weather reporters shared Buffalo’s airport had seen more than 49 inches of snow. 

On Sunday, the National Weather Service of Buffalo reported the area had already been hit with 92.7 inches of snow during the 2022 season so far. 

For comparison, Buffalo typically sees 95.4 inches for the whole season, which ends on June 30. 

The county is expected to continue to see snow well into Tuesday. 

‘We can see sort of the light at the end of the tunnel, but this is not the end yet,’ Poloncarz said. ‘We are not there.’

The cause of death for the 22-year-old (left) has yet to be released

The cause of death for the 22-year-old (left) has yet to be released 


Author: Sagar Sharma

With over 2 years of experience in the field of journalism, Sagar Sharma heads the editorial operations of the Elite News as the Executive Reporter.

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