State officials called it "a worst case scenario." Six semis jackknifed, blocking I-57 Sunday afternoon, trapping 375 vehicles. The occupants of one of those vehicles finally made it back to Chicago on Monday night.
"Fifteen hours in the car is unbelievable," said Felicia Jones.
Felicia and Ricky Jones were driving home from his mom's funeral in Mississippi. Hour after hour, they waited.
"I thought we weren't going to make it," said Ricky Jones.
"We called the police, we called the state troopers, and there was no one there to help us," said Felicia Jones.
The Jones' and their three teens passed the time singing songs, playing computer games and eating snacks they had packed for the trip.
On Monday night, state police warn many roads remain treacherous. They may look clear, but ice is causing countless spinouts and crashes.
With more than half of all flights cancelled in recent days at O'Hare, many Chicagoans can't get home. A Hinsdale couple that went for a quick birthday trip to San Juan is now stranded after United left them in Panama.
"We have three kids, split them up with great friends and family. We also missed our daughter's 6th birthday, so it was a huge inconvenience. We're trying to make the best of it, enjoying Panama," said Maria Shepherd.
She's not alone. In Colorado, United took the Cousino family's luggage, but not them.
"We had to buy all our diapers and bottles and our clothes and pajamas and everything until we can fly back not until Wednesday evening," said Jen Cousino.
Whether they flew or drove, all of the families said they will reconsider their winter travel plans in the future.