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Fri, Jan. 24

Sheriff’s search crew finds lost woman after GPS mapping fails her

YAVAPAI COUNTY – A woman who got lost while driving near the east end of Bloody Basin Road Feb. 27 was found by the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office volunteer Backcountry Unit after she walked away from her car.

The 68-year-old woman’s husband called from Mesa at about 6 p.m. to report that she left their home to go to a specific store, and he had been tracking their car via an Onstar app that allowed him to see where she was, YCSO spokesman Dwight D’ Evelyn said.

“After about 4 hours, GPS directions indicated she was on a country road heading towards pavement, but she actually was driving further from civilization,’ D’Evelyn said. “Fortunately, just before the signal was lost, her husband tracked and recorded the location which placed the vehicle near the Verde River south of Sheep’s Bridge.”

A Department of Public Safety Ranger helicopter crew found her car, but she wasn’t in it.

Backcountry Unit members went to the car, and were able to track her shoeprints, D’Evelyn said. She was several hundred yards away, disoriented by otherwise all right except for scratches and bruises she sustained while walking away from the car.

The Ranger helicopter took her to a Phoenix-area hospital.

GPS is not infallible, D’Evelyn said.

“GPS units are only as accurate as the map data supplied. In many cases, rural areas can be most problematic and otherwise unmarked roads can be misinterpreted.”

He recommended that drivers carry printed directions or a map in unpopulated areas.

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