A 22-year-old woman Charlotte woman died waiting in her car after being caught in the middle of the historic winter storm in Buffalo, New York over the weekend. Anndel Taylor died over the weekend after her car got stuck in the snow while she was on the way home from work on Friday.
Taylor texted her family a final video from inside her car the day before she was found dead from what her mother believes was carbon monoxide poisoning rather than hypothermia. However, the cause of death has not yet been announced and an autopsy will be conducted to ascertain the exact cause of death.
Taylor's family told Jonathan Lowe of Channel 9 that as she was driving home from work in Buffalo, New York, she got trapped in the weather. "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 Brown, Taylor's sister.
She stated that she was stranded in blinding snow that was quickly building up in a family group chat. She posted a video showing what appeared to be snow on the car's windows.
The video appears to show her car stuck in the snow soon after midnight on Saturday, as a terrifying wind howled outside.
"She was telling my sister that she was scared," Brown said.
Her friends and relatives urged others in other states to help them find their lost loved one after seeing the video, and she was eventually located sometime after Saturday afternoon. The precise time and date are unknown.
In the 16-second clip, Taylor can be seen sliding down the window that is coated in snow to reveal a wintry scene. The camera pans out over the scene which features several feet of snow under the car and another stranded vehicle just across the way.
The wind is whipped by the snow and the cold in the otherwise silent night.
Taylor's family believes she died from carbon monoxide poisoning inside the car. "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.
Hell Freezes Over
Taylor's relatives told local Charlotte media that they were unaware of the severity of the situation in western New York. "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.
Taylor's family said that she had dialed 911 and was waiting for emergency personnel when she sent the video. Taylor's mother, Wanda Brown Steele, revealed to WCOS that her daughter intended to ride out the storm in her car before making her way home on foot the next morning.
However, a few hours later, Taylor's body was discovered inside her car. She may have been trapped for up to 18 hours before being found dead, according to her family.
Tomeshia Brown, Taylor's other sister, claimed that while some people had attempted to save her and her car, their efforts had been ineffective.
"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.
The cause of Taylor's death has not yet been given. Also, local law enforcement officials are yet to confirm that she was one of the storm's casualties. Taylor would have turned 23 in January.
At least 27 deaths were reported across Erie County the county where Buffalo is located, as of Monday night.
A total of 57 deaths have been reported nationwide as a result of weather-related mishaps during the historic "once in a lifetime" storm.