NorCal woman rescued after spending 3 nights trapped in car during snowstorm

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ByLiz Kreutz KGO logo
Wednesday, March 8, 2023
CA woman rescued after spending 3 nights in car during snowstorm
A woman in Mendocino County, Calif. was rescued after spending three nights trapped in her car during a snowstorm.

MENDOCINO COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- A woman in Mendocino County was rescued after spending three nights trapped in her car during a snowstorm.

According to the Mendocino County Sheriff's Department, the woman was driving with her daughter and her daughter's boyfriend on a rural road in the town of Laytonville when they got stranded in the snow on Friday night. There was no cell signal and they had no way to call for help.

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The young couple decided to walk and seek shelter in an empty home they had seen a few miles away.

The mother stayed in the car alone until she was rescued on Monday morning.

"She was out there from Friday at midnight until we rescued her yesterday afternoon like early afternoon hours, so we're looking at two-and-a-half days-ish," Captain Greg Van Patten, a spokesperson for Mendocino County Sheriff, told ABC7 News. "Unfortunately, we tried attempts on Sunday afternoon into early Sunday evening with what equipment we had available to us... that was unsuccessful due to the amount of snow in this area."

Van Patten said thankfully she had some food and water in her car, but that she was very cold and showed signs of dehydration when they finally reached her.

"She was definitely nearing the end of that sustainability had we not been able to get up to her yesterday with all those coordinated efforts," he said.

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The first responders also found her daughter and boyfriend.

Authorities said the incident was one of many scary situations happening in Mendocino County from the recent snowstorms. Like in the Sierra and the San Bernardino mountains, the region has been pummeled by an unprecedented amount of snow, leaving many people trapped in their homes.

"They aren't able to get out to get food," John Haschak, the District 3 Supervisor for Mendocino County, told ABC7 News. "I've heard from ranchers that have cows up in the hills that are fearful that the cows are starving. So, we've got a lot of situations like this going on."

Haschak said many first responders have been assisting with rescues. He said he knew of one man on hospice and a woman with cancer who needed help.

"They were stuck down a couple hundred yards of a private driveway," he said. "So, we had to send in the search and rescue to make sure that they had the food, medicine, what they needed."

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Haschak said he's asking Governor Gavin Newsom to include Mendocino in the list of counties where he's declared a state of emergency.

"I think the focus needs to be on our area," he said.

Brian Ferugson, a spokesperson for the Office of Emergency Services, told ABC7 News that at the time the state declared a state of emergency in 13 California counties, Mendocino County had not requested to be included. He said more counties can be added especially with another round of storms on the way.

For Mendocino County, Haschak said the concern now is the potentially warm rain that's on the way. It could melt the snow and lead to flooding.

"It's been a very difficult winter for all of us," Haschak said.

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