Grant County search and rescue personnel responded twice in the past week for motorists who got stuck in deep snow on Forest Service roads.

In the first incident, Feb. 21, the sheriff’s office was notified by family members around 9 p.m. that two Dayville men, Joe Letosky Jr., 23, and Joe Letosky Sr., 61, had not returned on time from their drive up Forest Road 21.

Search and rescue personnel traveled to the Fields Peak area and worked until around 3 a.m., locating the two men and returning them to Dayville.

In the second incident, Feb. 24, the sheriff’s office received a report around 4:42 p.m. about a man whose vehicle got stuck in deep snow on Forest Road 2090 in the Big Creek drainage off the Middle Fork of the John Day River.

Ed Westervelt, who lives in the Middle Fork area, was traveling home when his vehicle got stuck around mid-morning. He attempted to walk cross-country to his cabin, but partway into his hike he became exhausted and was unable to proceed.

Westervelt used his cellphone to call for help. Grant County search and rescue personnel and Long Creek ambulance responded. Westervelt was found by using the GPS location sent from his cell phone. He was taken by utility task vehicle to the Long Creek ambulance and transported to Blue Mountain Hospital, where he was treated for hypothermia.

Richard Hanners is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. He can be contacted at or 541-575-0710.

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