On January 26th Jones County was blessed with about three inches of fresh snow, always a good thing for snowmobilers. Unfortunately the snow was followed by high winds gusting up to 45mph out of the north and west. The expected high winds caused concern with the Jones County Sherriff’s Department, who, in the early afternoon contacted Terry Brownell, president of the Snow Chasers. Terry posted on the Snow Chasers Snowmobile Club Facebook Group for all members to be on standby.
About 6 pm Terry and Lindsay Brownell received calls about people stranded on Highway 64. They rescued two adults which they took to the Wyoming Ambulance Shed from one car, and in the next car were a teenager and her 67 year old grandma. Terry was told by grandma: “I’ve never been on one of these before but sure glad they are around”. They were also taken into Wyoming Ambulance building were they all spent the night. Terry and Lindsay prepared backpacks filled with gloves, hats and coats. Terry also had a gas can with him in case that was needed.
Meanwhile, another call Snow Chaser, Brett Benter received a call from a Jones County Deputy in the Monticello area requesting a ride from home to meet up with another deputy as his shift was to start. It was approximately a 20 mile round trip and Brett said “at times he could not see the front of his sled”.
Snow Chaser Jeremy Petsche, new to the Club this year, called into Jones Co dispatch with his phone number and where he lived so if needed help they could call him. While on the phone they received a call that there was a vehicle stranded on Highway 1 just south of Fairview. Jeremy grabbed an extra snowmobile suit and helmet to take with him as he knew it was going to be a 7 mile trip back to his house. Once Jeremy arrived at the car he noticed that there were at least 7 more vehicles and a semi stuck on the road. As he left with the first stranded, pregnant woman, he tried to stop other vehicles from going south but to no avail they kept going and got stuck too. Once home he contacted Tim McPherson and reported that there was as many as 10 vehicles stuck on the road. At that time Tim called Cory and Chris Smith and asked if they could get the groomer and another sled out to help with the situation. Jeremy went back and rescued another motorist and took her to his house as well as both spent the night at his home and they were able to get the vehicles back in the morning. Jeremy then went back to highway 1 and at this time the groomer driven by Cory Smith, another 2 snowmobiles and Chris Smith with his pickup were there to help. Together they got the stranded motorist to Fairview which the deputies got them to a warm safe place. The groomer made a path on the highway which allowed some of the vehicles to drive out to safety. It took roughly 4 hours to get all 17 drivers to safety.
Other members of our club assisted in many other ways such as posting on face book, some listening to scanners. Snow Chasers members of Cedar County contacted their county officials as well.
The Cresco Driftrunners were also rescuing motorists on Highway 9 during the storm.
Iowa Snowmobile clubs across Iowa step up to assist whenever needed. The Snow Chasers received good coverage on KCRG TV out of Cedar Rapids and on Facebook, where the effort of the Driftrunners was also noted. It is really nice to hear good things about snowmobilers on the news. KCRG noted in the closing of the coverage that Club members said while they like riding in the snow, they wouldn’t normally ride snowmobiles in those conditions for fun. But they would for a good cause.
Good Job Snow Chasers, Driftrunners, and all Iowa clubs who stand ready to assist their communities in emergency situations.
Iowa State Snowmobile Association
20838 247th Street, Delhi IA 52223 USA