The Wyoming Highway Patrol issued a media release reminding those traveling for the holiday season that even though most motorists have a GPS, you should also map out your route in advance. The media release used a recent incident in the Bighorn Mountains as an example of why it's a good idea to cover all your tracks before taking to the road. Sheridan Media's Ron Richter has the story.
On November 19th, troopers received an Attempt to Locate a 19-year-old female when her family reported that she hadn't arrived from her journey over the Bighorns and hadn't made any contact with them. The teen was traveling from South Dakota to Powell and was using driving instructions on her GPS. Troopers from Sheridan and Lovell began looking for the girl by searching both US 14A and US 14 before meeting at Burgess Junction, where neither of them had seen any sign of the red 2003 Chevrolet Monte Carlo that she'd be traveling in.
As the troopers headed back down the mountain, they received word that someone had received a text message from the missing teen. With assistance from her cell phone carrier, they were able to narrow the search area to Forest Service Road #180.
Her vehicle was located 12 miles from the highway, stuck in the snow, however, the missing teen was not with the vehicle. The trooper spotted footprints in the snow and began a search on foot, where he found the girl walking down the road a short distance away. The missing teen was transported to Sheridan Memorial Hospital, where she was treated and released with no reported injuries. The teen told law enforcement that she'd gotten stuck the evening before and stayed in her vehicle to keep warm. She stated that she'd started walking to find help the next morning.
The Highway Patrol urges motorists to advise others of your exact route and to make sure that you have the proper equipment and some non perishable food in your vehicle in the case that you become stranded.