Released by: Deputy Kyle Joye, Assistant Special Services Coordinator
Occurred: 2-21-21 at 10:00 p.m.
Location: Cascade Lakes Hwy near Milepost 53
Rescued: Brandon Dustin, 39-year-old male, Eugene Resident (Driver of Veh #1)
Eric Valentine, 48-year-old male, Lapine resident (Driver of Veh #2)
Jason Winford, 43-year-old male, Lapine Resident (Driver of Veh #3)
Crystal Rathe, 38-year-old female, Eugene Resident (Passenger Veh #1)
Cannon Valentine, 18-year-old male, Lapine Resident (Passenger Veh #2)
14-year-old juvenile, (Passenger Veh #2)
Jeffery Iverson, 50-year-old male, Lapine Resident (Passenger Veh #3)
Vehicles: Chevy Suburban (Vehicle #1)
Ford F150 Pickup (Vehicle #2)
Chevy Suburban (Vehicle #3)
On 2-21-21 at about 10:00 PM, Deschutes County Dispatch received a call from Eric Valentine stating he had gotten his vehicle stuck in the snow while trying to rescue his nephew who was also stuck in the snow.
Valentine reported his nephew, Brandon Dustin, had left Lapine around 5:00 pm today and took the “back way” to Eugene. The nephew, Dustin had planned on taking US Highway 372 over to US Highway 58, using a shortcut to Eugene. After finding snowmobiles traveling the highway and getting advice from the riders that the highway was closed, Dustin attempted to turn around and became stuck in the snow. Valentine responded to help and also became stuck in the snow.
During this initial call, Valentine decided to call a friend with a tow truck and declined any Search and Rescue assistance. At approximately 0107 hours, Valentine again called 911, reporting his friend who was supposed to bring up a tow truck instead drove up a Chevy Suburban and he was also stuck in the snow. Valentine reported there was now 3 total vehicles stuck and 7 people including one minor were stranded. Valentine requested Search and Rescue to recover the people on scene.
Using Valentines 911 call as a locating tool, Search and Rescue was able to confirm Valentine’s location was at milepost 53 US Highway 372. Valentine reported all three vehicles were within a few hundred yards of each other and all occupants were warm and safe inside the vehicles.
Two Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue (SAR) volunteers and one Special Services Deputy responded to assist. Two SAR members travelled the majority of the way to the stuck subjects with a 4×4 pickup. They then deployed the tracked DCSO SAR ARGO ATV as well as a tracked Polaris Ranger ATV and located all subjects around 04:30 a.m.
All 7 subjects were provided a courtesy ride back to the intersection of FS Rd 42 and FS Rd 43 where they were reunited with their family. All DCSO resources returned to quarters by 07:00 a.m.
The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind those travelling during the winter to anticipate changes in the weather and varying snowpack conditions. It is also recommended if you’re travelling forest service roads this time of year they are generally not maintained so planning your route is suggested. Also, be sure to bring appropriate vehicles and equipment: including a shovel, lighting, clothing, blankets, food, water, navigation and communication devices to include a cell phone charger.
The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is a full service agency that oversees the adult jail, provides patrol, criminal investigations, civil process and search and rescue operations. Special units include SWAT, Marine Patrol, ATV Patrol, Forest Patrol, along with six K9 teams. Founded in 1916 and today led by your duly elected Sheriff L. Shane Nelson, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office serves over 200,000 residents in Deschutes County. The agency has 259 authorized and funded personnel, which includes 191 sworn employees who provide services to the 3,055 square miles of Deschutes County.