I-40 floods, stranding dozens at Benson gas station

I-40 flooded on Saturday. Photo by AJ Janavel/WNCN
I-40 flooded on Saturday. Photo by AJ Janavel/WNCN

BENSON, N.C. (WNCN) — Dozens of people gathered at a gas station off I-40 in Benson after the interstate was flooded on Saturday and they had nowhere else to go.


The stranded people were forced off I-40 and the surrounding roads were also closed from flooding.

Roads were bad all day in the Triangle, but around 2 p.m. Interstate 40 began to flood and many people gathered at the Nutrena Feeds store, which has a gas station and an eatery called Grill on the Hill.

“We tried to get through the puddle and we got stuck,” said Devin Wynn.

Devin Wynn was actually driving back to Fayetteville from Raleigh after trying to save a friend from flooding — that’s when they got stuck on the interstate.

Related story: 3 dead, 4 missing as Hurricane Matthew hits NC with record flooding, high winds

“We had to climb out the windows, my friend had to climb on the roof,” Wynn said “She was like ‘We have to get out’ so I rolled the window down and hopped on top of the car. It was crazy,” Wynn added.

They weren’t the only ones that made the mistake though.  Jose Chavez had to push his car out of the water.

He and his friends are in a mariachi band and did not want to ruin their clothes when they got out to push, so they wore their shorts in the flood waters.

Others saw the flood waters and decided driving through wasn’t worth the risk.

“I saw the van get stuck on the other side. I knew I probably wouldn’t make it,” said Kelly Osornio.

Leanne Madtes said she was turned around seven different times trying to get out of flood waters.

“I’m not thrilled… I’m actually kind of scared I would like to go back home and I don’t know if I can,” Madtes said.

The large group then ended up stranded at the gas station, which also did not have power but operated on a generator.

Many don’t’ have any idea when they’ll be able to return home and they say they’ll stay at the gas station because it’s higher ground than any other surrounding areas.

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