An 81-year-old man survived in a snowbank for one week after becoming stuck on a desolate highway in California. Jerry Jouret, a former NASA employee, left his mountain cabin on February 24 to return to his family home in Nevada, which, usually takes three hours in good weather conditions.
According to his grandson, he had left his mountain house as he thought he could beat the forecasted snowstorm.
During the drive to Gardnerville, Nevada, he accidentally veered onto a smaller street, which caused his vehicle to become stuck. Overnight, the temperatures in the area quickly dropped 20 degrees.
Jouret, who his grandson notes is “pretty small”, was not prepared for the snowy conditions as he was only wearing a light windbreaker jacket at the time. Fortunately, he did have a hotel bath towel and a light quilt, which he used to keep himself warm inside his SUV.
A former mathematician, Jouret, whom his grandson described as a “very smart man”, decided to stay with his vehicle; he only turned the car on every now and then to warm up.
Over the next seven days, approximately three feet of snow came down in a series of winter storms that hit California state. The unusual event not only took out the power, but also buried the streets and roads in heavy snow, leaving many stranded in their vehicles, like Jouret.
Fortunately, Jouret was able to survive the brutal conditions by eating some food that he had in his car. He also kept hydrated by eating snow occasionally by opening the car window.
On the third day, the battery for his vehicle died while he was trying to close the electric windows. As a result, it remained open for several inches over the next few nights.
On the fourth day, the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office received a call for a missing person’s case. Search and rescue crews planned on searching the area the following day, but was forced to wait a day due to the dangers of the impending storm.
Several days later on March 2, the California Highway Patrol team identified a cell phone ping, which helped the Search and Rescue crew narrow the search area. Once weather conditions cleared up, they deployed a helicopter. As they were refueling the aircraft, the pilot spotted what looked like a large rock in the distance. Upon further inspection, he realized that it was a vehicle, with a man waving his arm out of the car window.
The crew immediately transported Jouret to the hospital for medical treatment. He was discharged later that same night. Fortunately, he had no signs of hypothermia. In fact, the nurses were shocked at how well his vitals were.