Around 7:30 pm on Wednesday, a Fresno County Sheriff’s deputy on patrol in the mountains was dispatched to help a husband and wife whose vehicle was unable to drive any further due to a fallen tree that was blocking the roadway.  The couple had a cell phone, but it did not have an active subscription.  However, it was still able to successfully dial 911.

The deputy drove to Shaver Lake to try and find the couple, but due to directions, had difficulty trying to locate them.  During this time there was heavy rain and strong wind in the area.  Around 10:30 pm, a total of four deputies were now assigned to the call and they received better information that the couple was stranded on Old Railroad Grade Road, so they headed that way.  Dispatchers gave an update saying the couple’s SUV was stuck in the mud.  Also, as the woman had stepped out of her vehicle, another tree fell, struck her head and caused a gash.  Shortly thereafter, the SUV somehow caught on fire.  The woman and her husband got a safe distance away and huddled together to try and stay warm.  

As deputies tried to make their way back to the couple, they encountered a downed tree in the road which prevented them from going any further.  Two of the deputies happened to have chainsaws in their vehicles.  They carry these power tools on a daily basis while working in the mountains, knowing all of the dead trees create a potential to block them from getting somewhere.  With rain pouring down and the wind howling, two deputies teamed up to cut the tree, while the other two deputies moved the pieces out of the way.  Meanwhile, they could hear more trees snapping in the distance.  During their trek down the road, the deputies encountered a dozen more trees in the road, which required sawing and moving before they could continue on.  To make matters worse, one of the deputies got a flat tire, so he left that vehicle behind and got a ride with another deputy.  Finally around midnight, after travelling about seven miles, the deputies reached the husband and wife.  They picked them up and headed back toward the main road.  During the drive, they had to stop, chop and move about six more fallen trees.  Deputies eventually met EMS personnel who transported the couple to the hospital by ambulance.  The woman received stitches and both are now doing well.  

The deputies, although muddy and soaking wet, were uninjured.  After releasing the man and woman to medics, deputies traveled back to the patrol vehicle with the flat tire and changed it out.  Their entire rescue operation wound up taking seven hours to complete.

Patrol Truck Stuck in Mud with Flat Tire
Patrol Truck Stuck in Mud with Flat Tire


Fallen Trees Cut by Deputies

Contact Information

Tony Botti
Public Information Officer
(559) 600-8137
(559) 977-0379
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