A New Mexico couple delivering newspapers suddenly became headline news when they were stuck in a snowdrift for 20-hours on the side of a rural road. The couple ran off the road in a white-out and spent those 20 harrowing hours in their car buried in that snowdrift, which was 12-feet deep.
According to Fox News on December 29, Jimmy and Betty Anderson deliver newspapers on a 50 mile trek through rural roads and when they set out to deliver the papers, the snow was just in its beginning stages. The Anderson couple thought they’d finish before the predicted snowstorm hit full force, but they were wrong.
They turned around to come home after only making deliveries to five homes and they were about four miles from their town of Clovis when their Ford Fusion drifted in the wind and the white-out made it impossible to see where they were going. This is when their journey home ended, with the car landing in a ditch.
As NBC News describes, “the next 20-hours would unfold as a “daunting and dangerous waiting game” for the couple. Jimmy Anderson described the snow as, “It kind of dumped on us in the middle of the road. Between the wind and the snow, you couldn’t see a thing.”
The couple called for help on their cell phone and a military all-terrain vehicle set out to rescue them, but it broke down about three-quarters of a mile from where they were. The firemen deployed to rescue them couldn’t make it through the snow, with one fireman almost getting lost, reports Fox.
The couple stayed in touch with Lt. Roger Dial of the Clovis Police Department, whose main concern was to get to this couple as they were in danger. The couple texted family and friends and even the local newspaper got updates on the rescue attempts for Jimmy and Betty every few hours.
Jimmy said he tried to keep his wife from being scared and the two talked non-stop for 20 hours. One would doze off and the other one would ask if they were alright. Once the car’s engine conked out, the cold was their biggest enemy in this storm.
Come Sunday afternoon, the temperature in Clovis dipped to 18 degrees and Jimmy climbed into the passenger seat with Betty and wrapped a small thin blanket around the two of them. Public Works Department director Bill Kshir said that this was the worst storm to hit the area in 20 years.
Kshir said after numerous attempts to reach the couple had failed he decided to take matters into his own hands. Kshir followed a Public Works bulldozer in his own truck as they made their way to the area where the couple said they were located.
Kshir got a hold of Jimmy by cell phone and the stranded couple said they could hear them outside the car, so they were close. Their car was under about five feet of snow by this time. The bulldozer smashed out their back window and crushed part of their car roof, this is when the rescue attempt stopped. Without shovels they couldn’t dig the couple out and they couldn’t risk the chance of the bulldozer crushing them. The bulldozer was overheating so it went back to Clovis.
Another six to seven hours passed before another man attempted to rescue the couple. Ty Gonser from Ray Lee Equipment had taken a massive John Deere tractor out to help trapped motorists in the Clover area. Kshir hooked up with Gonser and drove to the area where the couple was located. This time the tractor drove into a nearby field to avoid crushing the car.
It was now 4 p.m. on Sunday and they were able to make a hole wide enough through the snow to the car and they got the couple out. Betty and Jimmy were treated at the hospital and sent home. Their car is still in the snow drift on Curry Road 6, but Jimmy said that once he gets it out, he will go back to delivering the newspapers!