Family stranded overnight after wreck on rural road

RALSTON – After spending a chilly Friday night stranded in their Jeep stuck in a ditch on the back side of Ellenton Mountain, an out-of-town Mennonite family of four was rescued after the father hiked several miles to get help, according to Ralston Fire Chief John Orr.

The family’s vehicle became disabled after it skidded off ice- and snow-covered Yellow Dog Road and landed in a drainage ditch in McIntyre Towship late Friday afternoon, Orr said he was told.

The parents and their two children, believed to be 1 and 3, were not injured, Orr said.

The mishap occurred “in a very remote area on a state forestry road that is not maintained, about two miles east of Rock Run,” Orr said. The name of the family was not provided.

Although the father had a cellphone, there is no cell service in the area, Orr said.

“It’s my understanding the father ran the vehicle throughout the night (to keep the family warm) until it ran out of gas,” Orr said.

Sometime after daybreak Saturday, the father left his wife and the children in the Jeep while he hiked to an occupied home in the 2800 block of Ellenton Mountain Road, where he was able to get help about 9 a.m., Orr said.

A state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources forester picked up the father while volunteer firefighters from Ralston and Trout Run, using all-terrain vehicles, rescued his family at the crash site, Orr said.

With the help of equipment from the forestry and fire departments, the couple’s Jeep was pulled out of the ditch, Orr said, adding that the vehicle could be driven. The family then continued on their way to their destination, a Mennonite camp on Ellenton Mountain Road, Orr added.