An unidentified South Lake Tahoe, California woman trapped in her snowed-covered car was dug out by authorities after a snowplow collided with her buried vehicle.
The woman's vehicle was parked illegally, and authorities believe she was living out of her car. After heavy snow buried her vehicle on Feb. 17, a snowplow making a routine patrol hit the hidden vehicle, popping open its trunk. Plow operators dismounted their vehicle and began shoveling away at the snow surrounding the car, preparing to tow it, when one noticed a hand on the window.
"She wasn't trying to get out," recalled South Lake Tahoe city spokesman Chris Fiore, as quoted by Associated Press. "She wasn't making any noise."
Plowmen dug out enough of the vehicle to extract the woman, who reportedly told her rescuers she'd been in the vehicle for about five hours. She reportedly showed no concern regarding her situation, despite her car's battery being dead, meaning she couldn't roll down the windows to get fresh air or escape, putting her at risk for hypothermia or asphyxiation.
"The truth is that this could have turned out very differently," continued Fiore.
The woman declined medical attention and was not cited for any violations. As her vehicle was illegally parked and immobile, authorities towed her car and she left on foot.
Residents of typically warm climates such as California sometimes don't take the dangers of cold or precipitation as seriously as they should, and can put themselves or others at risk as a result. Everyone living in a cold climate is advised to keep a winter survival kit in their car and equip their vehicle with winter tires.