After 4 Days Missing, Trucker Stumbles Out of Wilderness

Jacob Cartwright's GPS led him astray in remote Oregon; he doggedly walked 36 miles home
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 29, 2018 7:37 AM CDT
After 4 Days Missing, Trucker Stumbles Out of Wilderness
A tractor-trailer drives across Singing River Bridge on in this Jan. 16, 2018, file photo in Florence, Ala.   (Allison Carter /The TimesDaily via AP)

A trucker who was missing for four days in a snowy part of Oregon after his GPS sent him awry walked 36 miles and emerged safely from a remote region. Jacob Cartwright, 22, showed up Saturday near La Grande, where an intensive search had been taking place since he went missing Tuesday. Cartwright was being evaluated but appeared OK, a nursing supervisor at Grande Ronde Hospital tells the AP. "He looks to be pretty good," she said. "He kept moving and stayed warm enough. So it doesn't look like he's going to have too many injuries." Cartwright's boss, Roy Henry of Little Trees Transportation, said Cartwright was driving a truckload of potato chips but got stuck after he took the wrong turn in an area with limited cell coverage. He walked away without food or water just after midnight Wednesday, wading through snow at points. He didn't stop until Saturday morning near La Grande, where he lives, Henry said. From there, he got a ride home.

Cartwright's wife returned from meeting with officials about the search for her husband only to find him home. "He took his cowboy boots off and put on flip flops," Henry said. Cartwright told her "he was hurting real bad and was real cold. So she packed him up and took him to the hospital." Temps have been dropping into the 30s. Henry asked Cartwright why he didn't take potato chips with him for his journey and he responded, "That's worth money. That's the load I was hauling and I didn't want to damage the property.'" After interviewing Cartwright, Oregon State Police located his truck, which had several wheels sitting precariously on a steep embankment, 21 miles away from the last known GPS location. At the hospital, Cartwright first told Henry that he hoped he would not lose his job—and Henry assured the trucker with children ages 4 and 2 that he wouldn't. "It was pretty much just sheer will and determination that got him out," Henry said.

(More truckers stories.)

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