Family: High Snow Piles Make Leaving Home Unsafe

By Lindsey Seavert, WCCO-TV

PLYMOUTH, Minn. (WCCO) — A Twin Cities family said they feel like prisoners in their own home because of how their street has been plowed this winter. The VanScoyks say the snow piles are stacked so high along their county road in Plymouth, they can’t safely leave their driveway — and what they feared would happen, did.

For Corey and Tiffany VanScoyk, getting home is the easy part. But trying to leave their house isn’t quite as effortless.

“It’s like Russian Roulette when you are leaving your driveway every morning,” said Corey.

Their Plymouth home sits on the busy County Road 6, and at the end of their driveway are snow banks taller than Tiffany.

“I’m not quite 5’4,” she said.

Tiffany said the snow piles higher each time Hennepin County plows the roads. Now the snow banks block their ability to see traffic on this 45-mph road. It makes it almost impossible for them leave the driveway safely — and late last week they were hit.

“Here is the lack of the front end of the car, where it used to be,” Tiffany said, pointing to her banged up car.

Corey said it was only a matter of time. Now he has $5,000 in damages before he made it out of the driveway.

But the VanScoyks say it could have been much worse.

Their two boys are often buckled in the back seats. The couple said they pleaded with Hennepin County, only to learn that removing the snow was now their problem.

“There has already been a car accident and you’re telling me something else is a bigger priority than the safety of my family. That makes me angry,” said Tiffany.

“They are thinking about dollars, I am thinking about my boys,” Corey added.

Now the VanScoyks possibly face a long winter, when leaving home leaves too much at stake.

Hennepin County said they are not ignoring the family’s concerns. It’s a resource problem.

A transportation engineer said the county removes snow according to priorities and his crews are still overwhelmed by the cleanup from last month’s snowstorms.

Crews are focused on dangerous areas in Minneapolis now, so it could be several weeks before they get to other problem areas.

Comments

One Comment

  1. MIke Phakenam says:

    i have that problem too, know what i did to fix it? hint: it rhymes with shovel!
    quit complaining and do something about it. Jebus! lazy people

    1. Mr T says:

      You got that right. Or, they could of hired a guy like me to haul it away for $3000 and that would of saved them $2000

      1. Barry O says:

        You’re full of it (and I don’t mean snow). More like $100 dingleberry.

  2. Mike Taylor says:

    Here…Here Mike
    You pretty much summed it up but I’d like to add … you people continually take the risk, with kids in the back, instead of just clearing a sight line is damn near criminal.

    1. Todd Gabrielson says:

      If you came to me and asked me to pay 3000 to remove snow from my driveway I would tell you to take a hike and keep calling until I received a estimate to my liking. To charge 3000 is pure greed to the worst degree. a family of two young boys can ill afford to part with this kind of money. The sad thing is that if anything happened that caused any deaths in this family then people would be pouring out to make sure their driveway was cleared. for free. The time to show compassion is before an accident occurs, not after when they are wrangling with grief.

      1. Mr T says:

        Todd, the $3000 comment was meant to be sarcastic. The reason being in the article it states “They are thinking about dollars, I am thinking about my boys,” Corey added.

        I wanted to show an example of how they are both(the family and state) are thinking about dollars.

  3. KJ says:

    When there is no place for the snow to go… What do you do? Shoveling isn’t the answer, jerks. No amount of shoveling can solve the problem they are dealing with.

    1. evan says:

      it’s easy they have a yard you shovel the pile down to about three feet and pile the snow in your yard away from the street so you can see the road. if they moved the pile back five feet they could see the road fine. yes it will be hard work now but they should have been doing this all year long. its not brain surgery it snow shoveling.

  4. Bob says:

    Looks like they piled that up them self. A lot of people do that when clearing out the drive way after the plows come by on the road. Think ahead next time you shovel the drive way….

  5. Allah says:

    Grow a pair…good God….Its Minnesota….move….

  6. Julie says:

    Start chipping away at the piles. Lots of work, but there may be more coming and I wouldn’t rely on anyone else at this point. Good lesson for everyone to learn. It is no different at many intersections.

  7. Barry O says:

    I can’t believe anyone would blindly enter into traffic! Completely avoidable accidient if a bit of personal responsibility had been undertaken. Maybe their insurance comany should review their claim.

  8. evan says:

    How is this news??? A family got into a car accident because they did not take care of the snow bank at the end of their drive way, on their land. I live on the same kind of street and when the snow pile gets too tall i get my self out there and take a shovel and move the snow back in to the yard. Yes i now have an almost 7′ pile of snow about ten feet away from the road where i have been putting the snow but i can see when i leave to go to work.

  9. it works says:

    BURN the SNOW it will MELT

  10. Lyle says:

    Unfortunate winter time situation that may return another winter.
    Consider a stainless steel mirror, secured to a couple of stakes/posts,
    and stuck into the snow bank. Might give enough advance view
    to safely enter the road. May want to make the stakes/posts permanent
    next summer. Then return the mirror when needed.

    1. Beth B says:

      Done all the time around me due to trees and poor visibilty for all. Maybe 1 accident in last 15 years that I know of. Great solution Lyle – good post

  11. IMaOnTheTake says:

    How about taking some initiative and responsibility for your well-being; grab a shovel or have someone do it for you;

  12. Gotta be kiddin' says:

    I was lazy for awhile due to bad back and lost my vision “sight lines” too. Taller than me all around the drive entrance (6”1″) were the banks.
    OMG – what to do? Call the city who put it there? naaa
    Call a company to remove it with Bobcat? naaa. $1800
    Try to force my snowblower thru it and cut a path? naaa. That rain and the plows = near concrete.
    Aaaha. A steel shovel. A bit at a time. Hire some help too but the neighborhood at $10 and hour. The kids loved it.
    My back hurt a bit again, my lungs were rejoicing, the fat on my gut shrunk a bit I’m hoping, my wallet is $50 lighter.
    Guess what?! – I remembered I actually could do it. I’d gotten lazy and fell behind. Shame on me on all counts.
    This is a non-story. And a family who needs to get a shovel or many and hop on it. SOLVED

    1. hoover says:

      Great post! I agree – they should be ashamed of themselves – get out there and do something about it. But wait, nowadays people don’t take responsibility for themselves or the things around them – easier to blame someone else and expect someone else to take care of it.

  13. jeff says:

    Wow, come on people. It’s snow,not some immoveable object. Use a shovel like the rest of us or bake some cookies for a neighbor.

  14. Tiffany says:

    Thanks for those that had helpful suggestions. The mirror idea is a good one. Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble here, but it isn’t as simple as us just being “lazy”. This is a very busy road, and there really is no place for me to put the snow by myself.With a husband that travels 60% of the time, I need to consider the safest way to remove this snow for our family. I can’t exactly stand out on a snowbank and pray my kids don’t run into traffic. The way our driveway is laid out, it’s not possible to get a bobcat out here. The reason we were requesting help from the county was because they had been shaving down banks within a few blocks of us, and that solved the problem for those families. It’s hard to accept that the county will clean up their mess ALMOST all the way down a block and then just move on. It’s frustrating.And for those who stated that this was from us shovelling – the banks blocking vision are no where near the end of my driveway, so they were caused by plows. I don’t usually head out to pile snow at the end of my yard.

  15. Richard M says:

    I suppose for some it’s hard to get this snaow shoveled on a daily basis as that road has plows sweep thru so often it makes one crazy. Even bigger issue – the drivers just friggen race down it on way to whatever.
    That said I have a bank only about 3′ at most and clear sight lines. I have to wait to find an opening to get out sometimes – and then it happens, I’m good to go and that jackazz comes barrelling down at 45-50 and almost takes me out. IMO – that is the main issue – speed. That needs to be addressed and unless one lives on a road like this they will not understand that. Drop it to 30 -35 mph and enforce it please.
    And folks – shovel it away. I started at 5:00am. I see I’ll need to again as they slammed it shut again but that MN. And I am darn happy they plow.

  16. Deb R says:

    Im Willmar it is the responsibility of the resident to make sure that the snow piles at their drive end dont cause an accident. If it does, then the person in that house are fined and held responsible for that accident. Even with all that, we still have some tall piles, but i think the time is better spent clearing the snow then the money and risk from not clearing it .You can always ask a neighbor or family member to help watch the kids while you clear it…. there are people on 60 mph roads that manage to do this who are single moms, you can too…

  17. Tiffany says:

    Thanks for those that had helpful suggestions. The mirror idea is a good one. Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble here, but it isn’t as simple as us just being “lazy”. This is a very busy road, and there really is no place for me to put the snow by myself.With a husband that travels 60% of the time, I need to consider the safest way to remove this snow for our family. I can’t exactly stand out on a snowbank and pray my kids don’t run into traffic. The way our driveway is laid out, it’s not possible to get a bobcat out here. The reason we were requesting help from the county was because they had been shaving down banks within a few blocks of us, and that solved the problem for those families. It’s hard to accept that the county will clean up their mess ALMOST all the way down a block and then just move on. It’s frustrating.And for those who stated that this was from us shovelling – the banks blocking vision are no where near the end of my driveway.The main problem isn’t even on my property.

    1. tiffany says:

      Again to state – people don’t seem to be getting this…this snow is all along our road. We have kept our driveway ends up throughout the winter. The banks that are up the road from us, NOT on or near our property, are what is causing the obstruction. So lazy, not to shovel the whole road’s banks, I know.

      1. Vicki says:

        We are currently shoveling and/or snow blowing about 3-4 feet away from the cub on our street. So this is a problem everywhere. We have been continuing to clear where the plow doesn’t. Your street is busy yes, but to say it always busy is not true. There is always time. We hired a local plow driver to move our snow banks back from the city street and into our yard, seriously cost me $20, would have paid $100. It can be done, you either need to do it yourself or look into a plow or bobcat to come and move it for you. Where I work is on a snow emergency route in Minneapolis and they do not clear curb to curb so we hired a company to remove the snow on the street and the banks to the curb, this costs $100 to do a major section. If it can be done on a busy road in Minneapolis it can be done at your location. You need to do the work to get it done, and not expect the city to do everything for you. Trust me it is part of owning a business and owning a home, it is having the knowledge to do something about it.

  18. Ron says:

    Hello, My name is Ron.. I live in Minnesota. Fortunatly, there is not a huge pile of snow at the end of my driveway because we live on a culdacsac. I like the winter and I am NOT A MORMON.

    1. Mike Phakenam says:

      Are you Lutheran then? Maybe Catholic? Or is moron the word you’re looking for?

  19. gophuckyourselfbucky says:

    Pay the cash shovel or MOVE

  20. Sue says:

    My husband traveled all his working like as well. However, when he was out of town, I shoveled the driveway. Grow up! This is life. You can’t expect the government to take care of everything for you. This is your home and your kids. It is your responsibility to take care of them. Before I would try to exit that driveway with my precious children, I would be out there with a shovel.

    1. Nancy says:

      I TOTALLY AGREE! I was out there shoveling before there were snowblowers, and I have used the snowblower and the shovel when my husband is out of town as well. The family’s property in this story looked there was PLENTY of room for those banks to be pushed back – either by hand or plow!

    2. uptomyeyeballsinsnowtoo says:

      Are we to assume that you never do anything without your kids while your husband is traveling? If the girls from work want to go out for a meal, do you take them along? It’s called “baby sitter”. If your kids are too young to leave in the house by themselves while you’re out shoveling for 2 hours, hire the same person to watch them as you’d hire to watch them any other time. That would probably be your most inexpensive option anyway. It’s common sense. Oh, that’s right, Mark Twain hit it on the head when he said, “common sense is very uncommon.” When liberals want it legislated because some of us have a deficit, we’re all in trouble. How this made the news is beyond me. I’m sure you probably called it in, but for WCCO to actually consider airing it is absurd.

  21. PantsOnFire says:

    Thank you WCCO for this hard hitting report exposing how the city of Plymouth is actually being pro-active about killing their residents. I heard something happening over in Egypt today but it’s not important…

  22. Sarah says:

    Really, have any of you been by this home. If not, you have no room to judge. Yes, it seems like a small issue. But when my family is in jeopardy of being harmed, I have something to say about it. This family is by far the most “un-lazy” family I have ever met. I know this personally because these people are my family!

    They are some of the hardest workers I have met in my life! Of course they own shovels and snow blower! They live in Minnesota. The issue is that the piles are not on their property. So stop judging. If you are all such “good” people and such loyal citizens to city grap a shovel and help out your neighbors!

    1. olaf says:

      Sarah–why don’t YOU grab a shovell and help out YOUR FAMILY

      1. Sarah says:

        Because I don’t live in the same state! Olaf.

    2. Deb R says:

      it may not be on their property, but the plows are not doing curb to curb and so it has more or less become the end of their drive for now. and i would help because i know what it is like as mine reached over almost 6 ft (we have far more snow here, and sooner… our piles at ends of our drives hit over 5 ft by New years day) but i live 2 hours or more away and have my own kids and work to deal with. most of us on here are saying that there are ways to get it done since it needs to be done and the city cant get to it… the only way to usually get anything done anyways in a reasonable time is to just do it yourself. that is common sense.

  23. Dan says:

    Get a shovel and take care of your own property. Who clears the end of their driveway after the snow plow goes by?

  24. Jenny says:

    Wow! So much for “Minnesota Nice.” This isn’t a matter of laziness in any way, shape or form. The area in question isn’t part of their property. The problem runs the length of a very busy county road. We are all familiar with clearing the ends of our property, this winter in particular, but this falls beyond the normal responsibility of the average home owner. Their request for help is totally warranted, especially given the fact that the city has helped in nearby areas.

  25. jeff says:

    Wcco needs to get out there and give a visual.

  26. CIndy in CaLIifornia says:

    Wow, TIffr and Coreey…..you should move to California…..these Minnesotans are mean!! I don’t think they listeened to the problem very well…….I

    1. Deb R says:

      MOST of the STATE is dealing with issues like this right now, and parts where i live in West Central and South Western MN are dealing with worse then these people are dealing with. Most of us are nice people who have commented on this, but as we have taking care of it ourselves, we cant see why these people can not. This is not a typical snow year. We have offered many suggestions to try to help them out. the city i live in has done many streets too, does that mean they have to come and do every house where there are small children? no because it is not in the budget. there may be reasons why they did that part of her area and not her place… maybe3 that was the cut off for the part they need to do, maybe it is part of the snow emergency route, either way, it did not make to her area yet and possibly the fastest way to get done is to find a way to do themselves like the REST OF THE STATE has had to (including small towns with no budgets who have MORE snow then the twin cities area).

  27. Mike Taylor says:

    Am I missing something here. If by clearing the sight line 10 to 20 yards to either side of driveway and you still cannot see oncoming traffic then this is more than a snow problem.

  28. Corey says:

    I can see why some of you reacted with such strong emotion to this story, although the name calling and bashing is quite unnecesary.

    The newscast left out a number of comments that were made regarding this situation.
    — We have, in fact, been maintaing the snow bank to the best of our abilities. Hennepin County plows 3 lanes of snow into our front yards and driveways (2 east bound lanes and a center lane). This LARGE amount of snow becomes instantly compacted into what could be best described as giant mound of ice. We have shoveled, snow blown, ice chipped, and even used garden shovels trying to chip away at the mound. You have to stand on the side of CR 6 to try to chip away at part of the pile. Whatever gets scraped off gets thrown well behind the wall of snow. The issue is that the 5 to 6 ft wall of snow runs for about a 1/2 mile along CR 6 west of Vicksburg Ln. Feel free to drive along this route to see what the issue is.
    —We went to WCCO with this story out of frustration. We, and our neighbors, have been getting the run-around from Hennepin County for over 2 weeks. We know that we aren’t the only ones experiencing this, as we’ve heard from folks with similar issues.
    — We fear not only for our family, but for our neighbors and the commuters on CR 6. Keep in mind that this is not a residential side street. This is a 5 lane county road with a 45 mph speed limit. This means that most vehicles are traveling at a rate of 50-55 mph. Our driveway, and the driveways of 5 of our neighbors, are on the downside of a hill. Do the math- you have to poke your car out into the county road to be able to see around a 5 to 6 ft snow wall to see if any cars are coming over the hill, then punch it or hit reverse. This has not been an issue in recent years, as this years snow fall could only be described as extraordinary. It would be nice if Hennepin County would treat it as that and do what necesary to insure the safety of its’ residents.
    —What ever happened to MN nice, anyway? Geez!

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