Temperature drops, concerns rise as crews search for man stranded in vehicle rollover

VEYO – An 82-year-old man who rolled his vehicle near Veyo Friday night is in good condition following a joint effort by Washington County Search and Rescue and Life Flight.

Around 4 p.m. Friday, the man rolled his jeep somewhere west of Veyo and called some friends to let them know what happened. Apparently uninjured, he told his friends he was walking away from the accident and gave them some directions to where they might find him, Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy Darrell Cashin said.

A Washington County Search and Rescue ground team was sent to Veyo to help locate an 82-year-old who left the site of a vehicle rollover. With the aid of Life Flight, they were able to get the man out of the boonies and to friends waiting in Veyo nearby. Despite being out in the cold, the man weathered the experience surprisingly well, Washington County Sheriff's Deputy Darrell Cashin said, Veyo, Utah, Dec. 18, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Search and Rescue, St. George News
A Washington County Search and Rescue ground team was sent to Veyo to help locate an 82-year-old man who left the site of a vehicle rollover. Veyo, Utah, Dec. 18, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Search and Rescue, St. George News

Though his friends were able to keep in contact with him through his cellphone, they couldn’t locate him after a few hours of searching. The authorities were then contacted and a Search and Rescue ground team was dispatched to the general area, Cashin said.

The search and rescue operation began around 6:30 p.m. with about nine volunteers looking for the man.

Emphasis was placed on finding the elderly man as soon as possible because he was out in the cold without a coat, without food and water and has some preexisting medical conditions. There was a major worry he could develop hypothermia, Cashin said.

After two more hours of fruitless searching, the man was contacted via phone and told to call 911 so searchers could get exact GPS coordinates for his position. It turned out he wasn’t anywhere near a roadway as was hoped.

Worries about the man’s condition rose as the temperature dropped.

“All of us were concerned about exposure,” Cashin said. “It was 34 degrees in Veyo.”

Searchers were able to get close, though they had to hike through rugged terrain for about a half-mile or so to finally reach the man.

“In the meantime, I called and asked Life Flight if they would be willing to fly up there and help us locate and transport this person out,” Cashin said.

Life Flight personnel agreed to help and the medical chopper was launched from Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George. About the time the ground team found the man is when Life Flight arrived in the area.

The ground team gave the man a coat and and performed a medical check, Cashin said. Surprisingly, the man was faring quite well despite being in the cold without a coat for more than four hours, he said.

A Washington County Search and Rescue ground team was sent to Veyo to help locate an 82-year-old who left the site of a vehicle rollover. With the aid of Life Flight, they were able to get the man out of the boonies and to friends waiting in Veyo nearby. Despite being out in the cold, the man weathered the experience surprisingly well, Washington County Sheriff's Deputy Darrell Cashin said, Veyo, Utah, Dec. 18, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Search and Rescue, St. George News
Life Flight assisted Search and Rescue to get an 82-year-old man who’d had a rollover accident to safety. Despite being out in the cold for hours, he weathered conditions surprisingly well, Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy Darrell Cashin said. Veyo, Utah, Dec. 18, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Search and Rescue, St. George News

Members of Search and Rescue helped walk the man out of the area where he had been found and took him to the landing zone Life Flight had established. The Life Flight medics did their own medical check of the man and cleared him. Not wanting to go to the hospital, the man was flown to where incident command had been set up in Veyo and released to waiting friends.

“I want to express my appreciation to Life Flight for coming up there and assisting on this and bringing that gentleman out,” Cashin said. “If they had not, we would have been there an additional two hours just getting him out.”

The operation — Washington County Search and Rescue team’s 101st operation for the year — wrapped up around 11:30 p.m, Friday night.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

 

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1 Comment

  • knobe December 20, 2015 at 7:06 am

    I dealt with an elderly father for a long time &
    I learned that many seniors judgement declines a lot .
    The fact that he went off the highway , still had not gotten back to the road after 2 hours and
    did NOT call 911 until prompted by friends is an indication of his mental functioning .
    Hopefully he has family that will step in and deal because he is functioning like child ,

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