Emergency personnel last week plucked a Sequim-area motorist out of a remote area in Olympic National Forest after his vehicle became stranded in deep snow for more than four hours.
Brian Woytovich, 45, kept warm Friday evening, Dec. 29, with extra blankets, a sleeping bag and his vehicle heater while law enforcement personnel and a tow-truck driver tried but failed three times to reach him, Clallam Sheriff’s Deputy Shaun Minks said in an interview.
Woytovich, who could not be reached for comment, first became stuck in a ditch at about 5:30 p.m. on a Forest Service road in the Slab Camp Road area south of Carlsborg, Minks said.
Woytovich told search-and-rescue personnel that he extricated his vehicle after getting stuck in snow but became disoriented and drove in the wrong direction on the unimproved road and into worse conditions.
He stopped to wait for help where several trees had fallen across the road, blocking his passage.
Minks said a caller to 9-1-1 told the Peninsula Communications dispatch center that a motorist was stuck in the snow near the Slab Camp trailhead.
Woytovich called a tow-truck driver who could not find him because of a lack of cellphone service but looked for him anyway before his truck-tire chain broke and he had to turn around, Minks said.
Minks’ all-wheel drive Taurus got stuck in 18 inches of snow before he, too, had to turn around, he said.
And the road was too slick for sheriff’s Deputy Jim Dixon to proceed in his chained-up Ford Crown Victoria cruiser.
Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Leiter, a member of the search and rescue team, was able to reach Woytovich in a four-wheel-drive Ford Expedition at about 10 p.m. Friday and led him out to Lost Mountain Road, Minks said.
“Luckily the motorist had prepared for emergencies and had enough fuel to keep him warm along with extra blankets and a sleeping bag,” Minks said Dec. 31 in a press release.
Paul Gottlieb is a Senior Staff Writer with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. He can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.