PORTERDALE — Scott Messier has been a truck driver for 18 years, but Tuesday’s winter storm was the first time the weather caused him to have to sleep inside his vehicle.
A native of Vermont, Messier said he moved from the border of Jackson and Newton counties to Porterdale two years ago with his wife, Kim, who is a Newton County native.
While he’s used to driving in different weather conditions, Messier wasn’t quite ready for the snow storm that shut down roads and interstates Tuesday and into Wednesday.
Working for a local trucking company based on Conyers, Messier set out Tuesday morning to make a delivery in Mississippi.
When he tried to make the trek back to Georgia, Messier said that’s when everything “turned bad.”
“I finally made it on Interstate 20 in Leeds, Ala., but it took me five and half hours to go 3 miles,” Messier said.
By 8 p.m. Tuesday, Messier decided his best bet was to just sleep in his truck.
“People were abandoning their cars, walking to find shelter and food. After the inching up stopped, the interstate just shut down and I had to get some sleep. First time in 18 years I’ve ever had to sleep in my truck,” Messier said.
Messier said buses in Alabama were trying to maneuver around to take people to community centers for shelter.
Around 9 a.m. Wednesday, he was able to move 4 miles to an exit where there was a motel with one room available, Messier said.
The trucker planned to stay overnight and then get back on the ice-covered roads by Thursday morning. He noted there was about 155 miles to go until he arrived in Conyers.
“As truck drivers, we know this time of the year the weather can change in an instant,” Messier said. “We carry bottles of water, blankets, heavier coats just for these circumstances.”