Utah woman survives week in SUV stuck in snow


PARK VALLEY, Utah (AP) – Michelle Richan was stranded for a week in snow and mud in rural Utah – but she was prepared, police said.

Richan travels with an abundance of survival gear and had enough food and water in her SUV to last another week, she said.

She got stuck March 19 on a remote road in the northwest corner of the state while traveling home to Brigham City from Eureka, Nevada, the Deseret News reported .

Trapped without cellphone service, she decided to stay put, spending her time collecting firewood and burning fires.

Richan said she likes visiting secluded locations and was expecting to get stranded one day.

“I like going out in the middle of nowhere,” Richan said. “It’s just, you know if you’re going to be out there, you need to be able to survive out there.”

A week after she got stuck, a pilot spotted her from his small plane and radioed searchers on the ground.

“I spotted something orange, so I just went really low to look at it and saw her actually running out of the car,” pilot Ivo Zdarsky said.

A snowplow driver found Richan Tuesday and freed her vehicle. She was reunited with her family in Park Valley.

Richan’s daughter, Kaylee Vaughan, said it was a “terrifying and exciting” ordeal.

When she got the call that her mother was OK, Vaughan said, “I almost was in shock and was kind of like, ‘I don’t believe you. I have to see it for myself because it’s been so long and it’s been such a crazy rollercoaster of emotions and just thoughts.'”

If help had not arrived, Richan said she would have burned a spare tire and considered leaving the SUV to find shelter.

“I figured I had enough food left to at least last a week, so I figured I probably had enough to at least walk out if I had to,” Richan said.


Information from: Deseret News, http://www.deseretnews.com

In this Tuesday, March 26, 2019 photo, Michelle Richan talks in Park Valley, Utah, about getting stuck in mud and snow in Box Elder County and camping out in her SUV for a week before she was rescued . Richan was stranded in an area of rural northwestern Utah with no cellphone service for a week before a search plane’s pilot spotted her. No problem, because she was prepared for her drive home from Nevada, with food and other essentials for survival. (Mike Anderson/The Deseret News via AP)