WHITE PASS, Wash. - A Washington man says he went off a cliff and rolled 700 feet down an embankment near White Pass Ski Resort when someone pushed his pickup off the highway early Friday morning.
Christopher LaRue, 42, of Yelm was driving eastbound on State Route 12 when he went off the road in a red Ford F-250 about 12 miles west of Rimrock, the Washington State Patrol confirmed.
He said he was forced off the road by an oncoming car that crossed into his lane on a blind corner.
WSP spokesperson Trooper Chris Thorson said the allegation is under investigation. So far, no other drivers have been identified in connection to the crash.
On his GoFundMe account, LaRue said he flew 250 feet in the air before the truck landed and cartwheeled down the embankment. He said he was pulling a John Deere tractor with a trailer when it happened, all of which was lost in the crash.
“I survived this and a bitter cold hypothermic night in the snow for about 10-12 hours wearing only cowboy boots, pants, and a Carhartt [sic] jacket,” LaRue wrote. “I hiked just over a mile in the pitch black in heavy snow drifts following the sound of the stream at the bottom of the canyon.”
He said hypothermia began to kick in after that, so he stopped next to a large cedar tree to block the wind and tried not to fall asleep.
Meanwhile, Trooper Thorson said a state Department of Transportation truck driver called police around 3 a.m. after noticing a gap in the snowbank on the side of the highway made by LaRue’s truck.
Sgt. Brian Mulvaney was the first to arrive on scene. He used climbing gear that he had in his patrol car to rappel down the embankment. There he found the wreckage and footprints leading away from the truck.
The sergeant is an amateur hiker and climber in addition to being the supervising trooper on that morning. While no troopers are officially trained for such rescues, he had the skills to do the job and took it upon himself to carry it out, said Trooper Thorson.
LaRue said he and the trooper hiked another two or three miles before getting to a place where an ambulance could pick him up. He suffered a split lip and some heavy bruising but, miraculously, the only medical treatment he required were some stitches.
“Wanting to see my beautiful wife and kids again is what pushed me on,” LaRue wrote.
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