WYDOT driver survives night on the mountain last December, retur - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

WYDOT driver survives night on the mountain last December, returns to work this year to tackle winter storms

Posted: Updated:

Imagine how it would feel to be trapped all night in your truck in a mountain snowstorm, with a wind chill of 70 degrees below zero outside. That’s what happened to a Wyoming Department of Transportation plow driver last December. 

He told his story recently, and says he’s ready to tackle this winter’s snowstorms. So is WYDOT.

The Chief Joseph Highway in the Beartooth mountains is a lonely place now. Snow covers the mountains around it as far as you can see. There are no houses here, for miles.

Last December, a huge winter storm dropped so much snow in Northwest Wyoming, plows had to pull plows out of the snow in Cody.

Two Wyoming Department of Transportation snowplows got stuck in snowdrifts on the Chief Joseph Highway one night. Eagle Recovery sent a tow truck to pull them out.

Tow Truck Operator Brian Bragg says another rig got stuck, “Winched Mike out, one snowplow operator. Got him out a couple of times. And the snow drifts were so bad ended up sliding him off the road….”

So Bragg and his boss chained up the big rig: the four wheel drive tow truck. They pulled the first tow truck driver back onto the road.

Then, Bragg says they drove up to find the stranded snowplow.

He said, “And there was another snowplow operator, Joe, and he was turned around in the middle of the road.”

WYDOT snow plow driver Joe Klein had been stuck on the Chief Joseph Highway, alone in his truck, for ten hours, after clearing the snow for a car that was stuck.

Klein explained, “And then I got stuck and couldn’t get out. Conditions got worst. They tried to send up another truck to help me, and he couldn’t. He only got about four miles from the bottom, and I was about 17 miles in.”

Klein said the weather radio reported a 70 below zero wind chill  outside. 

And he saw, “Big snowdrifts.  Deep snow.  Wind, visibility you couldn’t see.”

Yet, he says he wasn’t afraid. His truck heater kept him warm. He had radio contact.

He said, “Search and Rescue, or someone would have come. They wouldn’t have left me up there.”

Bragg finally pulled his snowplow out just before daylight, then, Klein kept plowing.

Bragg said, “And then he came down and plowed back down the mountain, to where we were at, and made another pass back up the mountain..”

WYDOT has hundreds of miles to clear in Northwest Wyoming, and when the snow keeps coming down, they keep plowing.

WYDOT spokesman Cody Beers said this winter could be as bad as last year.

He pointed out a big winter storm hit this week, “We got a big start on it already, and our guys are out plowing roads.

And the snowplow boss said his men are ready for the 12 hour shifts, night and day, for the long winter ahead.

Cody Maintenance Foreman Jim Berry said, “Farmers’ Almanac might be right again this year. We might have another good one. But, we’re ready. We have all our equipment up, and we’re ready to go.”

Berry said his drivers wear heavy snow gear, and keep an emergency kit in the truck. Klein said he had only two bottles of water with him when he was stranded on the mountain last year, so, he always takes a bag of food with him when he gets in his snowplow now. 

  • LocalMore>>

  • Wildfire breaks out in Carbon County near Roberts

    Wildfire breaks out in Carbon County near Roberts

    Sunday, July 22 2018 1:09 AM EDT2018-07-22 05:09:28 GMT
    Sunday, July 22 2018 1:09 AM EDT2018-07-22 05:09:28 GMT

    A wildfire broke out 8 miles east of Roberts Saturday on Cherry Springs Road, burning about 40 acres of land.

    A wildfire broke out 8 miles east of Roberts Saturday on Cherry Springs Road, burning about 40 acres of land.

  • Park County Sheriff's Office searches for suspect involved in car chase

    Park County Sheriff's Office searches for suspect involved in car chase

    Saturday, July 21 2018 8:55 PM EDT2018-07-22 00:55:54 GMT
    Sunday, July 22 2018 12:55 AM EDT2018-07-22 04:55:51 GMT

    The Park County Sheriff's Office needs your help in searching for a suspect involved in a car chase two days ago.

    The Park County Sheriff's Office needs your help in searching for a suspect involved in a car chase two days ago.

  • Big Sky State Games: Table Tennis

    Big Sky State Games: Table Tennis

    Saturday, July 21 2018 8:14 PM EDT2018-07-22 00:14:30 GMT
    Saturday, July 21 2018 8:14 PM EDT2018-07-22 00:14:30 GMT

    The 2018 Big Sky State Games are underway after the opening ceremony kicked off Friday night at Daylis Stadium. Table Tennis is one of the sports where dozens of people are vying for the title of "Champion." The men's games were held at Rimrock Mall on Saturday.

    The 2018 Big Sky State Games are underway after the opening ceremony kicked off Friday night at Daylis Stadium. Table Tennis is one of the sports where dozens of people are vying for the title of "Champion." The men's games were held at Rimrock Mall on Saturday.

  • MontanaMore>>

  • Hikers find decomposed body near Gates of the Mountain

    Hikers find decomposed body near Gates of the Mountain

    Saturday, July 21 2018 1:36 PM EDT2018-07-21 17:36:35 GMT
    Sunday, July 22 2018 5:16 PM EDT2018-07-22 21:16:22 GMT

    Lewis and Clark County sheriff's office is investigating a death after two hikers found a body near Gates of the Mountain Friday evening. Sheriff Leo Dutton tells us the body was found to the north of gates of the mountains. Dutton said they can't determine the gender because the body was so badly decomposed. He added the body was probably out here for a week or more and it is unclear of the age of the person. Search and rescue crews had to be deployed to retrieve the body because of...

    Lewis and Clark County sheriff's office is investigating a death after two hikers found a body near Gates of the Mountain Friday evening. Sheriff Leo Dutton tells us the body was found to the north of gates of the mountains. Dutton said they can't determine the gender because the body was so badly decomposed. He added the body was probably out here for a week or more and it is unclear of the age of the person. Search and rescue crews had to be deployed to retrieve the body because of...

  • Big Sky State Games: Table Tennis

    Big Sky State Games: Table Tennis

    Saturday, July 21 2018 8:14 PM EDT2018-07-22 00:14:30 GMT
    Saturday, July 21 2018 8:14 PM EDT2018-07-22 00:14:30 GMT

    The 2018 Big Sky State Games are underway after the opening ceremony kicked off Friday night at Daylis Stadium. Table Tennis is one of the sports where dozens of people are vying for the title of "Champion." The men's games were held at Rimrock Mall on Saturday.

    The 2018 Big Sky State Games are underway after the opening ceremony kicked off Friday night at Daylis Stadium. Table Tennis is one of the sports where dozens of people are vying for the title of "Champion." The men's games were held at Rimrock Mall on Saturday.

  • Duck Days at WJH Bird Resources

    Duck Days at WJH Bird Resources

    Saturday, July 21 2018 7:55 PM EDT2018-07-21 23:55:26 GMT
    Saturday, July 21 2018 8:11 PM EDT2018-07-22 00:11:55 GMT

    Duck Days continues Sunday at WJH Bird Resources.

    Duck Days continues Sunday at WJH Bird Resources.

  • Most Popular

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Wildfire breaks out in Carbon County near Roberts

    Wildfire breaks out in Carbon County near Roberts

    Sunday, July 22 2018 1:09 AM EDT2018-07-22 05:09:28 GMT
    Sunday, July 22 2018 1:09 AM EDT2018-07-22 05:09:28 GMT

    A wildfire broke out 8 miles east of Roberts Saturday on Cherry Springs Road, burning about 40 acres of land.

    A wildfire broke out 8 miles east of Roberts Saturday on Cherry Springs Road, burning about 40 acres of land.

  • Video goes viral about Bozeman man's flag

    Video goes viral about Bozeman man's flag

    Friday, July 13 2018 6:49 PM EDT2018-07-13 22:49:39 GMT

    A Bozeman man says he came home on Tuesday and found a note on his door asking him to take down his American flag. 

    A Bozeman man says he came home on Tuesday and found a note on his door asking him to take down his American flag. 

  • Rollover crash sends seven to the hospital

    Rollover crash sends seven to the hospital

    Friday, July 20 2018 9:12 PM EDT2018-07-21 01:12:51 GMT
    Friday, July 20 2018 9:12 PM EDT2018-07-21 01:12:51 GMT

    A rollover crash in Billings sent seven people to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

    A rollover crash in Billings sent seven people to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

  • Montana quadriplegic athlete's camper trailer stolen in Utah

    Montana quadriplegic athlete's camper trailer stolen in Utah

    Friday, July 20 2018 12:47 PM EDT2018-07-20 16:47:52 GMT
    Stolen camper, left (Joe Stone)Stolen camper, left (Joe Stone)
    Stolen camper, left (Joe Stone)Stolen camper, left (Joe Stone)

    A paraglider and athlete from Missoula reported that his pull-along camper was stolen in Utah. Joe Stone travels around the country competing in triathlons, paragliding and doing outreach for people with disabilities. 

    A paraglider and athlete from Missoula reported that his pull-along camper was stolen in Utah. Joe Stone travels around the country competing in triathlons, paragliding and doing outreach for people with disabilities. 

  • 22-year-old Sandpoint man dies in Clayton 395 crash

    22-year-old Sandpoint man dies in Clayton 395 crash

    Saturday, July 21 2018 1:58 AM EDT2018-07-21 05:58:53 GMT

    STEVENS COUNTY, Wash. - Washington State Patrols responded to a fatal crash in Stevens County Friday evening. On SR-395 in Clayton near Mile Post 185, a vehicle crossed the center line and crashed head on with another car, killing the driver. The causing driver who was transported to the hospital is in custody for vehicular homicide. There were no other occupants of either vehicle. 

    STEVENS COUNTY, Wash. - Washington State Patrols responded to a fatal crash in Stevens County Friday evening. On SR-395 in Clayton near Mile Post 185, a vehicle crossed the center line and crashed head on with another car, killing the driver. The causing driver who was transported to the hospital is in custody for vehicular homicide. There were no other occupants of either vehicle. 

  • Flushing acid down the toilet: lab cleanup forces US 287 shutdown and town evacuation

    Flushing acid down the toilet: lab cleanup forces US 287 shutdown and town evacuation

    Friday, July 20 2018 1:08 AM EDT2018-07-20 05:08:06 GMT
    Missoula County Explosives Ordinance Disposal Team preparing for action. July 17, 2018. Photo credit: EPAMissoula County Explosives Ordinance Disposal Team preparing for action. July 17, 2018. Photo credit: EPA

    Some of the chemicals at the lab in Norris were so volatile that the risk of transporting them was too great, and experts decided to do a controlled detonation at the site of the lab.

    Some of the chemicals at the lab in Norris were so volatile that the risk of transporting them was too great, and experts decided to do a controlled detonation at the site of the lab.

  • Park County Sheriff's Office searches for suspect involved in car chase

    Park County Sheriff's Office searches for suspect involved in car chase

    Saturday, July 21 2018 8:55 PM EDT2018-07-22 00:55:54 GMT
    Sunday, July 22 2018 12:55 AM EDT2018-07-22 04:55:51 GMT

    The Park County Sheriff's Office needs your help in searching for a suspect involved in a car chase two days ago.

    The Park County Sheriff's Office needs your help in searching for a suspect involved in a car chase two days ago.

  • Man charged with poaching three bull elk, one mule deer buck, and two antelope bucks

    Man charged with poaching three bull elk, one mule deer buck, and two antelope bucks

    Monday, July 16 2018 6:01 PM EDT2018-07-16 22:01:25 GMT
    Monday, July 16 2018 7:11 PM EDT2018-07-16 23:11:38 GMT

    22-year-old Brandon Schuhen of Yellowstone County has been charged with 5 felony counts of unlawful possession, shipping, or transportation of trophy big game animal.  A Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks (FWP) investigation showed on October 6, 2017, FWP Game Warden Conner Langel received a call of a decapitated bull elk on a property just off Sarpy Creek Road. FWP released a press release seeking information from the public. According to court documents, on October 15...

    22-year-old Brandon Schuhen of Yellowstone County has been charged with 5 felony counts of unlawful possession, shipping, or transportation of trophy big game animal.  A Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks (FWP) investigation showed on October 6, 2017, FWP Game Warden Conner Langel received a call of a decapitated bull elk on a property just off Sarpy Creek Road. FWP released a press release seeking information from the public. According to court documents, on October 15...

Powered by Frankly

Features

  • More Features
  • Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 Cowles Montana Media. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.