Friday, March 31, 2023

Maintenance worker in right place at right time saves stranded driver

By Summer Derrey

Jerry Bennett was on a routine patrol on State Route 410 a few miles west of Whistlin’ Jack Lodge near Chinook Pass when he spotted some trees down. Noticeable, but not completely out of the ordinary this time of year up there. Jerry pushed the trees off the shoulder using the plow on his truck then hopped out to toss the remaining debris safely away from the road. But then a normal day turned decidedly abnormal, and Jerry was the right man in the right place at the right time.

First, he noticed a car buried in the forest off the highway. Then he heard a woman yelling for help. Jerry climbed down the hill and found the woman wet, cold and with some minor injuries. Traveling the night before in the dark, in the rain and sleepy, the woman missed her turn to US 12 headed to Randle. Instead, she continued onto SR 410 and crashed despite seven signs advising the road is closed 40 miles ahead. This highway closes every winter due to heavy snow and avalanche danger. With no cell phone service up there, the woman was stranded overnight hoping someone might drive by. Luckily, Jerry did.

Maintenance worker Jerry Bennett came across this car crashed near Chinook Pass and rescued the driver who had been stranded overnight.

Jerry escorted the woman safely to his truck, turned up the heater and radioed for help. Medical aid soon arrived along with the Washington State Patrol and Jerry and a trooper checked the area to make sure there were no other passengers around the vehicle.

Jerry’s actions likely saved that woman’s life and we are so glad and proud he was in the right place at the right time.

The driver who crashed near Chinook Pass missed her turn to US 12 and instead headed up toward the closed section of SR 410.

It’s also a great reminder to be sure you and your vehicle are prepared in case of emergencies. Especially if you’re traveling in remote areas or over mountain passes where cell service may be spotty and no help nearby, it’s vital to have extra food/drinks, warm clothes and blankets, medication and anything else you may need. It can make all the difference until someone like Jerry arrives to help.