A dispute between an elderly couple on Interstate 84 near Pendleton Tuesday led to the man walking off and ended two hours later – but only after the Oregon State Police, a search and rescue team and a helicopter were called upon to help find the man.
The incident began around 4:30 p.m. when OSP troopers responded to a welfare check call on I-84 near milepost 206. According to the OSP, the Washington state couple had been involved in an argument. The 80-year-old male driver parked their vehicle on the freeway shoulder and walked away, leaving his 79-year-old wife in the car.
The man then walked off the freeway into a hilly area northwest of Pendleton. He reportedly has a heart condition and his wife and OSP troopers were concerned for his safety due to the area’s terrain, his medical condition and the light clothing he was wearing with night approaching.
After troopers searched on foot and viewed the area using binoculars without spotting the man, Umatilla County Search & Rescue was contacted to assist and a LifeFlight helicopter stationed at the Pendleton Airport provided air support.
At approximately 6:47 p.m., the LifeFlight crew spotted the man in a draw, landed near him and confirmed he was not injured. OSP troopers responded to the location on foot and walked him back to the highway. The couple was reunited and no arrests were made.
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