Plow driver hits car buried in snow; woman found alive inside

A snowplow driver in South Lake Tahoe hit a car that was buried in snow on a city street after a major winter storm earlier this month, and when police arrived, they discovered a woman inside who was still alive.

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The plow driver and police had no idea anyone was in the car as they were digging it out until they saw a hand on the window, according to the city of South Lake Tahoe's website.


"After digging out the driver side, a 48-year-old woman was discovered inside the vehicle. She told (the South Lake Tahoe Police Department) she had been in the car for 4-5 hours. Thankfully she was OK, but the outcome could have been much worse," the city said.

Police believe the woman is homeless and may have been living in her car, according to KPIX-TV.

“Being inside a buried car or starting a car buried in snow could have deadly consequences,” the city’s communications manager, Chris Fiore, said.

"With that much snow piled on top of the car … if the snowplow hadn't hit the back of it, we could be having a much different conversation," Fiore told the Reno Gazette-Journal. "She could have suffocated."

City officials said they’ve had a big problem with illegally parked cars this winter.


“They don’t just delay the snow removal process, they’re dangerous for everyone involved,” Public Works Director, Ray Jarvis said.

Police Lt. Shannon Laney said he's never seen anything like this incident in his 20-plus years on the force, according to the Gazette-Journal.

“It’s a first for me, but we also haven’t had storms that dump this much (snow) this fast either … it’s a unique winter for us,” Laney said.

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