BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – A La Pine man’s attempt to rescue his nephew whose vehicle got stuck in the snow on the Cascade Lakes Highway west of Bend got him stuck as well Sunday night. In he end, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue ended up rescuing seven people from three vehicles.
Dispatchers with 911 got a call around 10 p.m. from a La Pine resident who said he’d gotten his vehicle stuck in the snow while trying to rescue his nephew, who also was stuck, said Deputy Kyle Joye, assistant special services coordinator with the sheriff’s office.
The man said his nephew, a 39-year-old Eugene resident, had planned on taking state Highway 372 over to state Highway 58, using a shortcut to Eugene, Joye said.
After finding snowmobiles traveling the highway and getting word from riders that the highway was closed, the motorist tried to turn around and became stuck in the snow, as did his uncle.
During the initial call, the La Pine man called a friend with a tow truck and declined any Search and Rescue assistance, Joye said.
Around 1 a.m., he again called 911, reporting his friend, who was supposed to bring a tow truck, instead drove up in a Chevy Suburban – and also got stuck in the snow. He then asked for SAR to recover the people on scene.
Using the call as a locating tool, SAR was able to confirm the location of milepost 53 on Highway 372. All three vehicles were within a few 100 yards of each other, and all the occupants were reported safe and warm in the vehicles.
Two SAR volunteers and Special Services deputy responded to assist, Joye said. The SAR members went most of the way in a 4x4 pickup, then deployed the tracked DCSO SAR ARGO ATV, along with a tracked Polaris Range ATV, and got to the stranded motorists around 4:30 a.m.
Joey said the seven occupants were given a ride back to the intersection of Forest Service roads 42 and 43, where they were reunited with their family. All the sheriff’s office personnel were back at headquarters by about 7 a.m.