A two-hour search on ground and by air this afternoon in the Pendleton area off Interstate 84 helped find an 80-year old man who walked away from the vehicle he was traveling in with his wife, following a verbal dispute.
Around 4:30 p.m., Oregon State Police troopers responded to a welfare check call westbound on Interstate 84 near milepost 206. Upon arrival, troopers learned the occupants of the vehicle, a couple from Washington State, were involved in a verbal dispute. The 80-year old male driver parked on the freeway shoulder and walked away, leaving his 79-year old wife in the vehicle.
The elderly man walked off the freeway into a hilly area containing numerous draws northwest of Pendleton. He reportedly has a heart condition and his wife and troopers were concerned for his safety because of the terrain, his medical condition, and the light clothing he was wearing with night approaching.
After troopers searched on foot and viewed the area using binoculars without spotting the man, Umatilla County Search & Rescue was contacted to assist and a LifeFlight helicopter stationed at the Pendleton Airport provided air support.
At approximately 6:47 p.m., the LifeFlight crew spotted the man in a draw, landed near him and confirmed he was not injured. OSP troopers responded to the location on foot and walked him back to the highway.
The couple was reunited and no arrests were made.
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