Virginia's Republican Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin doesn't take office until Jan. 15 – yet some critics Tuesday tried to blame him, instead of the commonwealth's outgoing Democratic incumbent, for a traffic mess on part of the state's 179-mile-long stretch of Interstate 95.

Hundreds of travelers – including U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va. -- were stranded in their vehicles overnight Monday into Tuesday in frigid conditions along the northern third of the highway in Virginia.

However, one of the stranded motorists – New Jersey parent Joseph Catalano -- told Fox News he reached out to the actual sitting governor, Democrat Ralph Northam, while he and his family were trying to travel home from Disney World in Florida.

On Tuesday night's "Tucker Carlson Tonight," host Tucker Carlson noted that many others impulsively blamed Youngkin instead of Northam for the crisis.


Carlson pointed to a tweet from anti-Trump Republican pundit Jonah Goldberg, saying that if he "were Glenn Youngkin, I'd be flooding the zone," as images spread of drivers stuck on the frozen blacktop in places like Ladysmith, Spotsylvania and Carmel Church, while conditions on the parallel, older U.S. Highway 1 weren't any better.

Virginia's congested, snow-covered I-95

The Virginia Department of Transportation was warning motorists to avoid travel on I-95 until lanes reopen and congestion clears. (Fox)

Other critics called it "not a good start" for Youngkin, while another critic lamented, "does Virginia’s new Governor Youngkin know people have been stranded on I-95 for 15 hours?"

But Carlson also spoke with Northern Virginia radio host Vince Coglianese, who observed that Youngkin – despite being wrongly blamed for the crisis – was receiving briefings and speaking with the media about the snow catastrophe.

Virginia's snow-covered I-95

Vehicles in a still image from video as authorities work to reopen an icy stretch of Interstate 95 near Garrisonville, Virginia, Jan. 4, 2022.  (Reuters)

"He seemed quite active in a way that Ralph Northam did not," Coglianese said, adding that Northam didn't tweet about the crisis until 8 a.m. ET, after many motorists spent a frigid night in their vehicles.

"Glenn Youngkin wasn’t even in office," he added.

While certain new officeholders like New York City Mayor Eric Adams took office Jan. 1, there is no nationwide date for state or local officials to take office.

Coglianese also questioned the absence of U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, noting that I-95 and its West Coast counterpart Interstate 5 are probably the two most important longitudinal highways in the country.

"He has done nothing to relieve the pressure?" Carlson remarked.


The snow-in ensnared a handful of top Washington figures, including Kaine, who said he was traveling from his Richmond, Virginia, home to D.C., as well as NBC News reporter Joshua Lederman. 

Lederman said he was stuck in his vehicle overnight on the highway.

In full, Interstate 95 runs more than 1,900 miles – from a Canadian border crossing near Houlton, Maine, to its end in Miami – serving many major cities in between.

Fox News' Greg Norman contributed to this report.