Birthday Boy Stranded, Then Rescued

Four men dig car out of snowbank


Greg Zimmerman and Robert White, both of Pine, along with EJ Sandoval of Tempe and Austin Wilbanks worked for nearly an hour to dig out the car belonging to Anne Theocharides who, with her grandson, was trying to find other grandparents camped along the Control Road Thursday when they slid into a snowbank.

Greg Zimmerman and Robert White, both of Pine, along with EJ Sandoval of Tempe and Austin Wilbanks worked for nearly an hour to dig out the car belonging to Anne Theocharides who, with her grandson, was trying to find other grandparents camped along the Control Road Thursday when they slid into a snowbank. |

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For his seventh birthday, Braeden Dusseault’s wish was to spend it camping with family.

His revised wish was to spend it with family, but just as far away from the Rim as possible.

On Thursday, Dusseault and his grandmother, Anne Theocharides of Mesa, got so stuck in the snow off the Control Road that it took four good Samaritans an hour to shovel them out.

Theocharides told Beaver Valley resident Guy Lewis (who witnessed the rescue) that an officer at the Tyler Parkway roundabout had told her to take Houston Mesa Road to the Control Road, where Dusseault’s father and maternal grandparents were camping, since Highway 87 out of Payson was closed due to heavy snow.

Not knowing any better, Theocharides turned her car around and headed down Houston Mesa in her Ford Fusion.

Theocharides made it all the way through Whispering Pines and to the bridge at the Camp Geronimo turn- off when the car spun out on a hill, pinning the nose of the car against a rock face.

Trapped in their vehicle and with the snow still falling, Dusseault and his grandmother were stuck.

Luckily, Greg Zimmerman and Robert White of Pine, EJ Sandoval of Tempe and Austin Wilbanks happened upon the unlucky birthday boy. The men were heading to Pine in four-wheel drive pickups when they spotted the Fusion merged with the hillside.

“The four men worked for a little less than an hour turning Anne’s Ford around and heading south back to Payson,” Lewis said. “Had it not been for the chance meeting with the men heading north, Anne and Braeden might still be pinned in the snow-covered hills along the

Control Road.”

Lewis, who was out taking photos at the time, snapped a couple shots of the rescue. Theocharides told Lewis it was Dusseault’s birthday and he wanted to visit his dad, David Dusseault, and maternal grandparents Dave and Brenda Bigge who were camping along the Control Road.

“If any people deserve the “Good Guy” award, these four do,” Lewis said.

Zimmerman, White, Sandoval and Wilbanks, pick up your Good Guy award at the Roundup office, 708 N. Beeline Highway, in the Swiss Village shops.

Comments

Christopher Rafter 3 years, 10 months ago

  1. Who goes camping during the biggest snowstorm of the year?
  2. What dad goes camping on his son's birthday - with his wife's parents(?) - during a snowstorm?
  3. Why would Grandma think she could make it down Houston Mesa in a Ford Fusion in 8" of snow when the HIGHWAY was closed due to snow conditions?
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