Missing Oregon trucker walked 14 miles to home
La Grande, Ore. – An Oregon trucker who went missing for four days walked a shorter distance to get home than was reported by the man’s employer, authorities said Sunday.
Oregon State Police Sgt. Kaipo Raiser said the agency’s investigation shows Jacob Cartwright, 22, walked about 14 miles over four days before he showed up Saturday near the town of La Grande.
His boss, Roy Henry of Little Trees Transportation, previously said Cartwright walked 36 miles back to civilization after getting lost in a remote and rugged area.
Henry has said Cartwright went missing Tuesday when he took a wrong turn and his tractor-trailer got stuck. Henry didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment Sunday.
Cartwright, meanwhile, remains hospitalized. A woman who answered the phone in his hospital room and identified herself as Cartwright’s wife said he would remain there for at least a few days. She declined to be interviewed.
The boss said Cartwright was driving a truckload of potato chips but the tractor-trailer got stuck after he took the wrong turn in an area with limited cellphone coverage. The driver apparently got lost after plugging in the wrong address in a GPS mapping device.
The trucker started walking away from the direction he had come from without any food or water just after midnight Wednesday wading through snow at some points. He didn’t stop until Saturday morning when he neared La Grande, where he lives, Henry said. From there, the trucker got a ride from a passing motorist to his home.
Cartwright’s wife returned home from meeting with local officials about the search for her husband only to find him in their house.
Henry said Cartwright was driving the truck about 400 miles from Portland in northwestern Oregon, to the town of Nyssa near the Idaho border. Temperatures in the region have been dropping into the 30s at night.
Oregon State Police, after interviewing Cartwright, were able to locate his truck, which had several wheels sitting precariously on a steep embankment, 21 miles away from the last known GPS location.