A 22-year-old woman was found dead in Buffalo over the weekend, trapped in her car by a blizzard that hit western New York, her family told CNN.
Andelle Taylor, who moved from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Buffalo, New York, was on her way home from work at a senior center and was just a six-minute drive from home when she became trapped, she said. Relatives who live in Charlotte.
Tomasia Brown, one of Taylor’s older sisters, told CNN that Taylor sent a video in a group chat with her sisters around 3 p.m. Friday. In the video, Taylor captured the icy conditions and low visibility. Brown said she told her sisters who live in North Carolina that she was trapped and it was snowing.
Taylor called 911 and was waiting for first responders, Brown and Wanda Brown Steele, Taylor’s mother, told CNN.
“His plan was to wait until the police arrived,” his sister said, but if that failed, he planned to “get up and walk when his car ran out of gas.” He also said that he planned to go to sleep and would try to walk home after waking up if help could not be found.
His family said they kept in touch with Taylor as the days went on. At one point, Taylor texted separately to tell one of her other sisters that she was starting to panic, Brown said.
In the early hours of Christmas Eve, Taylor sent his last video message on a group chat. In the video, Taylor opens the driver’s side window of his car to reveal that a nearby road had turned into a mountain of snow. A van can be seen on the road, which appears to be stranded, with hazard lights on. Taylor wrote in the group chat that she thought the snow would probably rise to her waist if she got out of her car.
Later that morning, around 9 a.m. on Christmas Eve, members of her family in North Carolina called her and sent her several messages. “We texted her in the group to ask, ‘Are you okay?'” Brown said. The family was left in a tizzy when Taylor did not respond.
“Maybe two hours later, my sister tracked his phone,” Brown said. “He [Taylor] You must have shared your location with my sister. And it turned out that he was still out.
The family alerted Taylor’s relatives in Buffalo at the address, but once they arrived, they said they saw Brown’s car but did not see him inside.
“So I put information on a private Facebook page called Buffalo Blizzard 2022 and asked for help,” Brown said.
He posted the address of the tracked phone and later that night, he received a call from an unknown person. “They told us they checked his pulse and there was no pulse,” Brown said.
“I really didn’t believe it,” he said. “It was like a stinging sensation in my stomach, a pain I’ve never felt before.”
Taylor’s mother, Brown Steele, told CNN she was in “shock”.
It would not be until the next day that Taylor’s body would be removed from the car, Brown said, after a woman sent a message on Facebook to inform Brown that she had also found the car and her sister’s body.
The woman told family in Charlotte that she would not leave until someone came to pick her up.
With emergency personnel unable to reach the car, the woman waited until Taylor’s relatives living in Buffalo arrived. Brown said everyone helped move Taylor’s body to another vehicle, where she was taken to a hospital.
After leaving several voicemails over the holiday weekend, the family in Charlotte received a response from authorities Monday night. Brown said they were calling to tell them they were ready to rescue Taylor. The Brown family informed them that Taylor’s body had been delivered to the hospital the day before.
“I want to get to the bottom of why the city couldn’t help,” Brown Steele told CNN.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz told CNN’s Poppy Harlow on “CNN This Morning” on Monday that at least two-thirds of the equipment sent to help clear snow during the height of the storm got stuck along the way.
Polonkarz said that a Buffalo Fire Department historian said it was the first time in the agency’s history that crews were unable to respond to an emergency call because the severity of conditions did not allow it.
Erie County officials said Tuesday that the county has restored its emergency response service, but is still urging residents to follow Buffalo’s travel ban and stay off the streets.
CNN has contacted the Buffalo Police Department for more information.
Brown said that as of Tuesday night, Taylor’s family in Charlotte did not yet know the official cause of Taylor’s death.
Taylor was described by his sister as “a caring, caring person”. He tried so hard, he cared about so many people,” his sister said.
“If she can help, she’ll help you,” said her mother. “She had a lot of friends in Charlotte, a lot of people she cared about.”
His family created a GoFundMe campaign to pay for his funeral.
Brown said Taylor would have turned 23 next month.