David and I had a little adventure the other evening. After his Dad got confused and drove to downtown Portland and lost his car and ended up in the hospital last year, we put a tracker on his car. Dave gets notified every time the car moves. Tuesday night the tracker went off at 10:30 PM and he certainly shouldn’t have been out that time of night for anything, so we jumped in the Flex and drove over to NE Portland where he lives. I was driving and Dave was following his progress on the tracking app, figuring he would be back at his place by the time we got there. But instead, he went the wrong direction, and as we got to his neighborhood, he was 10 miles ahead of us, heading East on Hwy 26!
After some debate about if this was a real emergency, or if the cops would even want to get involved in an adult going for a midnight drive, we finally called the cops, and by the time we explained everything, they said ‘well, he’s crossing the county line, lets send you to Clackamas 911’. So those folks were real helpful, but they didn’t have any officers in that part of the county who could chase him down. So we kept going as fast as we could, following the tracking app. We called his house to make sure someone hadn’t just stole the car while he was safe at home, but there was no answer, so we followed the car.
Along the way the tracker cut out as he drove out of cell service areas, or we were out of cell service, and we’d call back 911 when we had updates. Meanwhile we are driving out into darker and darker country, out past Sandy, heading for Mt Hood. Finally an officer called and asked where he was and where we were and said ‘sorry, but you guys are closer to him than we are’ and offered to tell officers in the NEXT county, because another 15 minutes and the highway would split, and depending on which way he went, he would be heading for Hood River or Madras, and worse, that was a service deadzone, so we were probably going to lose the tracker just before the split and not know which way he went for a while.
So by then I’m doing 70-80 mph (because obviously there’s no police to stop me, and there was zero traffic this time of night), we are just absolutely hauling ass up this highway, pitch dark. We’re out of service and lost the tracker, and we see another car ahead of us, and Dave says, that would be great if that was him, and we get up close, and it IS HIM! I get behind him and honk and blink and put my hazards on, and he pulls over. Dave runs up to his door and his Dad says ‘I figured if I kept going this way, I’d see something familiar.”!
He had driven 45 miles into the mountains! He was almost at Government Camp! When we got back to where we had service Dave called 911 and they were very happy to hear we caught him.
Dave drove him home and took his keys away. He’s going to go over daily to help him with whatever he would have needed a car for until we figure out what the next step is.
Update: Update on Dad. He has given up his car after talking about it and a week of running him to errands. Now getting Shari’s delivered and getting him on once a week errand visit. Will look into other help and potential medical assistance. Luckily he gets around fine and other then these jaunts he is generally able to do his day to day.