Oregon City family stuck in snow overnight after GPS led them as - KPTV - FOX 12

Oregon City family stuck in snow overnight after GPS led them astray

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Karen Bonelli-Sanquist, Tessa and Ron Sanquist. (KPTV) Karen Bonelli-Sanquist, Tessa and Ron Sanquist. (KPTV)
Photo taken by the family where they were stranded in the snow. (Courtesy: Family photo) Photo taken by the family where they were stranded in the snow. (Courtesy: Family photo)

An Oregon City family is safely back home, after spending the night stuck in the snowy mountains separating Oregon and California after their GPS led them astray.

Last week, Ron Sanquist, his wife Karen Bonelli-Sanquist and their 9-year-old daughter Tessa were heading to Willow Creek, California for a job interview.

They said they checked the road conditions on their phone, on MapQuest and with ODOT.

“We didn’t just rely on the GPS, we also relied on other sources and it said yeah, this is an okay trip to take, go ahead and go that way,” Karen said. “We came around the corner and that was it… we just started to slide and got stuck.”

“All of a sudden you’re in two, three feet of snow,” Ron added.

They were alone in the dark and without any cell phone signal.

“I was just trying to get branches or dead fall or anything like that to put under the tires to get some traction to get going,” Ron said.

He tried for hours, but with no luck.

He decided to give up until the light of day and the family spent the night in the car. Luckily, they had a full tank of gas and plenty of supplies like food, water and blankets.

The next morning, Ron left the car and walked five miles looking for help.

While he was away, Karen tried calling 911 one last time. Somehow, her call went through.

“All of a sudden a voice just came on the phone,” she recalled.

But the dispatcher was concerned that Ron was out in the elements – and that made Karen worried for him, too.

“That’s when the stories of 'oh the husband went to get help and didn’t make it' and that kind of stuff did pop into my head,” Karen said.

While Ron was walking on his own, he also reached a spot where he finally had service. When he called 911 he didn’t know his wife already had. The dispatchers knew his name and rescuers picked him up and drove him back to his family.

“All my tracks were gone, the Jeep’s tracks were gone,” Ron said. “In that two-hour period the wind had blown everything off the trees and onto the road and covered all the tracks.”

After they were rescued they continued on to California, but on the way home their transmission died in Medford.

Now, they’re facing a hefty bill to tow it back home and get it repaired. If you’d like to help, visit www.gofundme.com/stranded-in-the-snow.

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