On Saturday, January 30, 2021, the Sierra County Sheriff's Office received information of a missing person traveling from Grass Valley to Truckee along Highway 49. The Tahoe resident departed Grass Valley the previous Sunday, January 24, and had not been heard from since. The Sierra County Sheriff's Office obtained photos of the missing person and vehicle and forwarded this information to all local law enforcement agencies and Cal-Trans.
The missing person's family members assembled search parties and checked Highway 49 from Nevada County through Yuba County and Sierra County. Sierra County Deputies and the California Highway Patrol were also on the lookout for the missing person and his vehicle.
On Sunday, January 31, one week after going missing, the Nevada County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call from the missing person. Although the call was dropped, they confirmed it was from the missing person and obtained the caller's GPS location.
The Missing person was calling from Henness Pass Road near Alleghany in Sierra County. This area received heavy snowfall over the past week and is not assessible by vehicle. The California Highway Patrol Air Division dispatched a helicopter from the Sacramento area to assist. Additionally, the Nevada County Sheriff's Search and Rescue responded with their snowcat. The Helicopter crew was able to locate the missing person and land nearby. The helicopter transported the subject to awaiting officers just south of Downieville. He was in good medical condition and declined medical treatment.
After talking with the subject, he stated he decided to return to Truckee after visiting friends in Grass Valley. Because Interstate 80 was closed due to snow, he decided to travel along Highway 49 back to Truckee. His GPS directed him off Highway 49 and onto Henness Pass Road, as it was the shortest route. Unfamiliar with the area, he followed the GPS directions. This area of Sierra County is mountainous and gets heavy snowfall during the winter. Henness Pass Road is only open during the summer months and is not plowed. While traveling up the road, he became stuck and could not turnaround. Thankfully, he was prepared and had winter clothing, a camper, and propane. After a week of being stuck, he was able to find a location with limited cell service and make the 911 call.
The Sierra County Sheriff's Office was thrilled with the situation's outcome and would like to thank all those involved with the rescue, the California Highway Patrol, Nevada County Search and Rescue, along with the Alleghany and Downieville Volunteer Fire Departments.
As a reminder, do not always trust your GPS driving directions, particularly in the winter months.