A student nurse killed in the monster snowstorm that pounded upstate New York sent terrifying videos to her family while trapped in her car before she was finally found dead around 24 hours later.
Anndel Taylor, 22, was trying to get home from a shift at a Buffalo hospital Friday when she got caught in what Gov. Kathy Hochul has called “the blizzard of the century,” her mom told The Post on Tuesday.
For the rest of the day, the Mount Vernon-born nurse sent a series of updates to her family in North Carolina — including chilling videos showing how she was trapped in her car in ever-rising snow.
One just before 4:15 p.m. Friday showing her windows completely covered in snow. Then just after midnight Christmas Eve, she sent a final one in which she rolled down her ice-covered window to show a nearby van also stuck in the blinding blizzard with its emergency lights on.
“She had been talking to [her sisters], telling them that she’d called 911 and was scared,” Taylor’s mom, Wanda Brown Steele, 54, told The Post.
But “the rescue people told her that everything that was trying to get out and help was also getting stuck,” said the mom, who moved from the Empire State to Charlotte in 2002, when Taylor was just two.
“I really didn’t know anything at first because my kids didn’t want me to worry at first. But then they showed me the video and I started acting on it,” she said.
In her final messages to her three sisters in North Carolina, Taylor said she planned to get some sleep while she waited for rescuers, then make a bid to escape on foot if help did not arrive.
But by the morning “she didn’t answer her phone,” which the family “tracked to her car,” her mom said.
“If she was rescued, she knows my number — she would have called to make sure nobody was worried about her.
“And so at that point, we knew something was wrong,” her mom said.
Brown Steele called family in the Buffalo area — including Taylor’s ailing dad, whom she’d moved in with last year to help with his dialysis treatments — to get them to try to find her in her snow-covered car.
One family friend saw her car, but initially assumed nobody could still be inside, Taylor’s mom said.
“The third time he went out there he bust the window and found her in the car,” she said, saying her body was found around 24 hours after she was first known to have been trapped.
However, Taylor’s family believes she likely died of carbon monoxide poisoning as snow covered her exhaust pipes while she slept with the engine running to stay warm.
“I think she went peacefully,” her mom told The Post.
“She was laying back — she had her arms crossed and her foot up on the dashboard like she was peacefully asleep,” she said.
But even after Taylor’s body was found, “the police didn’t get there until late Christmas Day afternoon” — leaving her body in the car for another 24 hours, her mom claimed.
Instead, a volunteer from a makeshift group called “The Buffalo Blizzard” went and “said she was not going to leave my baby out there by herself even if she had to sit there all night,” Brown Steele said.
At one point, the volunteer FaceTimed Taylor’s family — and Brown Steele said: “I saw my baby lying there — she was iced. She was an icicle.”
The unidentified volunteer then helped some of Taylor’s relatives move the body to her car to finally take her to a hospital, the mom said.
In social media posts, some of Taylor’s sisters say that multiple 911 calls were made to no avail.
Her grieving mom said that even given the historic severity of the storm, she cannot understand how help did not arrive in time.
“That’s a state, that’s a city, that has this going on all the time — why [weren’t] they prepared?” she asked. “My baby sat out there from Friday to Christmas.”
The tragedy came soon before Taylor’s 23rd birthday on Jan. 13 — and while she “still got presents under the tree” for Christmas, Shawnequa Brown said.
The family is trying to bring her body back to Charlotte, where they moved when Taylor was 2. As of Tuesday afternoon, an online fundraiser has raised nearly $20,000, well over the $12,000 target.
“We’re trying to get her here — because I want her here with me,” her mom said of her daughter, a “giving person who helped anybody in need.”
Taylor’s grandmother, Sylvia Taylor, told WSOC-TV: “It’s so easy to ask yourself, ‘Why, God? Why?’ But it’s not always meant for us to know the answer to that.”
In a series of heartbreaking tributes online, one of Taylor’s sisters, Shawnequa Brown, called the student nurse “the golden child … The funniest, the realist, the hoodest little sister ever!”
“I’m so so so sorry, I would do anything to have been there with you,” she wrote.
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