RESCUE OF STRANDED FAMILY – On January 1, 2015, YCSO Search and Rescue Volunteers provided assistance to a Phoenix family of four in an area off Bloody Basin Road in Yavapai County. At 6:30 PM, a man contacted YCSO and told dispatchers that he, his wife, and two children were stranded due to their truck getting stuck in a ditch. Fortunately, the truck was still running and providing heat. They also had water and snack foods available. Unfortunately, the man was unable to provide detailed directions to his location. The family had driven to the area from Cave Creek.
Working with a cell phone service provider, dispatchers were able to obtain GPS coordinates. Under the direction of a Forest Patrol deputy, members of the Yavapai County Search and Rescue Team (YCSRT) 4x4 Unit were called out on a search mission. Dispatchers remained in contact with the family to assure that help was on the way while attempting to ascertain their location by descriptive landmarks and cell phone GPS. In the 8 PM hour, the 4x4 team deployed and began the search. Just after 10 PM, the team located the stranded family and was able to bring them to safety. The efforts of these incredible volunteers prevented the family from an overnight stay in frigid temperatures. The family’s truck will be recovered at a later time.
Lesson – Driving into unknown wilderness areas at night is a risk and should be avoided unless properly planned to include an understanding of the terrain. As with many rescues in the past, the cell phone was a lifeline for this family with good battery life being an important factor. But remember, there are portions of Yavapai County where cell phone signals do not work. This is why a personal satellite tracker is the only other option. These trackers operate almost anywhere and provide that extra measure of safety. Finally, the foursome smartly remained stationary utilizing their heat source and food. Wandering away from the scene is hazardous and can only make it more difficult for rescuers.
PURSUIT OF DUI DRIVER RESULTS IN ARREST – On January 3, 2014, just before 7 PM, a concerned motorist reported an erratic driver on Cornville Road near Mountain View Road. The vehicle, a 2001 Mazda Miata, was serving all over the roadway and had hit a curb as it created a danger for other motorists. A short time later, a YCSO deputy was able to locate the Mazda as it swerved into the opposite lane of travel in this area. Once behind the Mazda, the deputy turned on his emergency lights but the driver failed to yield. After pursing the vehicle for nearly 5 miles, the deputy discontinued the chase because of danger to other motorists on the road. The deputy later located the vehicle driving south in the north lanes of Highway 89A and he attempted to stop the driver. After some distance, the vehicle finally pulled over. Upon contact, the deputy could immediately smell the odor of an intoxicating beverage on the driver, identified as 57-year-old Patricia Engler from Cornville. Engler exhibited numerous signs of impairment and was arrested after failing field sobriety tests. She was charged with Fleeing Pursuing Law Enforcement Vehicle (felony), Endangerment (felony), Reckless Driving and DUI. She has since been released on a $1500 bond.
YCSO would like to thank the concerned motorist who initially reported the erratic driver. This action very possibly prevented a serious collision on Yavapai County roadways.
POTENTIAL FRAUD VICTIM AVOIDS RIP-OFF – Last month, a 66-year-old Cottonwood resident reported fraud by mail but avoided any financial loss by being suspicious and confirming the fraud with law enforcement.
The victim had just received an envelope containing a letter indicating she had been selected as a “mystery shopper.” The envelope included a $2200 cashier’s check which the victim was instructed to deposit, purchase (4) $500 Green Dot credit cards, and keep the remaining money as “salary.” The letter attempted to portray the victim’s work would be part of an evaluation of stores which sell these types of pre-loaded credit cards. The 4 cards would then be sent by the victim to the “Mystery Shopper” coordinator, in reality a scam artist.
In this scam, the cashier’s check is a fake and would eventually be returned to the victim by the bank as fraudulent. The scammer’s intent is to have the victim deposit the check, buy the Green Dot cards as part of the “mystery shopper” program, and send the cards (or wire the equivalent money) to the scammer/suspects before the victim is notified that check was a fake. Remember, the checking account holder is responsible for the loss under such circumstances.
See: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0053-mystery-shopper-scams for further information.
Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with information or questions at 928-771-3260 or the YCSO website: www.ycsoaz.gov