YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. - A traveler who found herself stranded near Chinook Pass is alive, thanks to a WSDOT maintenance worker who was at the right place at the right time.
According to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), On Friday, Jerry Bennett was on patrol on SR-410 near Whistlin’ Jack Lodge when he spotted some trees down off the side of the road.
Washington State Department of Transportation
WSDOT says fallen down trees are common this time of year, but there was enough debris for Bennett to intervene. He used the plow of his truck to push the trees off the shoulder of the road, and then stepped out to clear out some remaining tree limbs.
Then Bennett noticed a car buried in the forest off the highway.
As he approached the car, he could hear a woman yelling for help. He climbed down the hill and found her. She was wet, cold and had some minor injuries.
According to WSDOT, the woman was driving in the rain on Thursday night, and was feeling sleepy. She apparently missed her turn onto US-12 toward Randle. Instead, she continued on SR-410.
Officials say there were several signs warning that the road was closed 40 miles ahead, but she missed them, and ended up crashing.
WSDOT says this stretch of highway closes every winter for heavy snow and avalanche danger.
Without any cellphone service, the woman became stranded overnight – hoping that someone might drive by.
When Bennett found her, he jumped into action, and escorted her safely to his truck. He turned on the heater, and used his radio to call for help. Soon after, a medical team and the Washington State Patrol arrived to treat her.
Officials say Bennett’s actions likely saved the woman’s life.
WSDOT says this is an important reminder to always make sure your car is prepared in case of emergencies like this – especially if you plan on traveling through remote areas with poor cellphone service.